Date: 6/9/19 9:36 am
From: Anne Annibali <anneanni...>
Subject: Re: Tree Swallow drowning Eastern Bluebird
Sad story. A possible solution is back-to-back houses on one post. Middle Creek WMA does this very successfully since neither bird will tolerate another nest of the same species too close.
Anne Annibali, Mount Gretna, Lebanon County

From: Bird discussion list for Pennsylvania <PABIRDS...> on behalf of Jim Hill <jimhill.jimhill...>
Sent: Sunday, June 9, 2019 11:41 AM
To: <PABIRDS...>
Subject: [PABIRDS] Tree Swallow drowning Eastern Bluebird

This morning a male Eastern Bluebird drowned in our pond defending its nest
box against Tree Swallows. We had been watching him and his mate carry
nesting materials to the box until about two weeks ago, when we no longer
saw the female, who we thought was incubating. He remained very active, and
we grew quite fond of him, as he perched on a limb close to our house with
a moth or fly in his mouth. Meanwhile, a pair of swallows had been showing
increasing interest in the box, which I had originally intended for
swallows, not bluebirds. When I first noticed the attack this morning the
bluebird was atop the box while the swallows strafed him. The fight paused
for a few minutes, then resumed with the bluebird this time taking to the
air in defense. It was knocked to the water, from which it immediately
arose. Both sides retreated for a few moments. As the swallows returned to
the house, the bluebird rushed to its defense. Out of nowhere, two more
swallows appeared. The swallows again knocked the bluebird into the pond,
but this time a swallow mounted it and held it down while the other three
swallows swooped overhead. I yelled to my wife and ran from the house to
stop the drowning, but for all of my clapping and yelling the swallow
completed its task. My wife took to the water and scooped up the bluebird,
which survived only a few more minutes.

Jim Hill
Airville area, East Hopewell Township, York County, PA
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