Violet-green Swallow near Morrison Creek

Swallows are great little predators that help keep the insect population under control so I am always happy to welcome them to the neighbourhood. Photo by K Clouston

 

There are two similar looking swallows in this area, the Violet-green, shown here, and the Tree Swallow.  As the name implies, the Violet-green has a violet sheen to its wings and a greenish head and back.  The Tree Swallow is more of a bluey-black.  They both have white undersides but the Tree Swallow only has white on half of its face while the Violet-green has white that wraps around the eye as you can see in the photo.  Distinguishing between them in flight is even more difficult as the only real difference is that the Violet-green has white ‘hips’ which are not always visible when they are flitting around the sky catching insects.  Both of these birds are under negative pressure due to people cutting down old, dead trees as they are cavity nesters.  The other problem is that the European Starling beats them to the few available holes which is why the Morrison Creek Streamkeepers put up some swallow boxes in hopes of helping them out.

 

Violet-green Swallow near Morrison Creek

This is an awkward pose but does show the greenish head more than other shots. Photo by K Clouston