16 June 2009

Whose House Is It?

When we moved into our house in the spring of 2007, there was a Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) nest on our front porch... or so we thought. Barn Swallows successfully reproduced in this nest of mud, straw, and feathers in both 2007 and 2008.

Then, this spring, we noticed an Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe), as well as a Barn Swallow, visiting the nest in the early spring. On May 1, I told Lindsay I saw the Eastern Phoebe on the nest, and she told me that just a few days earlier she had seen a Barn Swallow on the nest. By May 11, the Eastern Phoebe was doing some house cleaning, adding moss to the top of the nest. It was then obvious that the Eastern Phoebe would be nesting here this year.

In the photograph above, you can see young Eastern Phoebes (five, I think) in the nest. You'll also notice the fresh layer of moss hanging out of the top of the nest.

I am curious to know whether this was an Eastern Phoebe nest taken over for a few years by Barn Swallows, or if it was a Barn Swallow nest taken over by an Eastern Phoebe. Aside from the moss, it looks like a swallow nest to me. Any thoughts?
Either way, it's been fun watching these little birds progress.

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