Tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) nest composition at Red Slough Wildlife Management Area, McCurtain County, Oklahoma

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Douglas R. Wood
David M. Eason
Ross G. Anderson


Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) nest composition has
been studied in the northern region of the species’ distribution, but not
at the southern end of its nesting range. We collected 48 Tree Swallow
nests at the Red Slough Wildlife Management Area in McCurtain County
Oklahoma from 2011-2012. Tree Swallow nests were overwhelmingly
composed of grasses, although pine needles also were used in one nest.
Mean nest mass was 30.7 g, with βirst nests heavier than second nests
in both years. Tree Swallows lined their nests with primarily wading
bird, waterfowl, and cormorant feathers with a combined mean of 73
feathers per nest attempt. We also documented a variety of other objects
in Tree Swallow nests at Red Slough including invertebrate shells and
exoskeletons. Tree Swallow nest composition was similar to materials
used in other areas of the species’ range; however, the use of egret, heron,
and cormorant feathers differed from previously published results.

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