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 Tree Swallow

Status in Michigan
Common Transient summer resident

Early Spring Date

Late Fall Date
Note: Early and Late Dates are being researched.
Image Credits
Count totals in the NMB Databases for Tree Swallow.

Use the links below to view the Tree Swallow reports in the respective databases.
If there are zero sightings for a particular season, that database will return no results.

Active Database - Spring 2005
View Tree Swallow sightings.
Tree Swallow Archives Reports
Fall 2003 2531
Spring 2003 1526
Winter 02-03 4
Fall 2002 180
Summer 2002 48
Spring 2002 1122
Winter 01-02 0
Fall 2001 4777
Summer 2001 28
Spring 2001 853
Winter 00-01 0
Fall 2000 836
Summer 2000 594
Spring 2000 815
Winter 00-99 0
Fall 1999 14309
Spring/Summer 1999 25

NMB Database
Seasonal Percentage Graph
For: Tree Swallow

Whitefish Point Bird Observatory
Active Database - Fall 2003
View Fall 2003 sightings.
Whitefish Point Bird Observatory Official Seasonal Count Summaries for the Tree Swallow
Fall 1999-Spring 2002
Tree Swallow
Note: Some species will not be present in the WPBO archives and will return no records.

Search "The Birds of Michigan" text.

Home - Foreword - Preface - Introduction - Hypothetical List - Literature Cited

Historical Text
The Birds of Michigan - by: Norman A. Wood
Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 75

Iridoprocne bicolor (Vieillot)
Tree Swallow

Common summer resident.

First listed for Michigan by Sager (1839: 416).

SPRING.-Northward movement occurs in the latter half of April in southern counties and in late April and early May in the north.

Lower Peninsula.-In the Toledo-Erie marsh area (L. W. Campbell, 1940:108,190, 205) the migration begins occasionally in mid-March, usually not until early April; it is commonly at its height from mid-April to mid- May. Tree Swallows were not usually recorded by Swales (1904: 37) at Detroit until the second or third week of April; in the Ann Arbor region they have frequently arrived in the last week of March (15 were observed there on March 25, 1932, by James H. Wood). In Kalamazoo County Gibbs (1885: 55) found them arriving from March 29 to April 12, the larger numbers from April 5 to 8; at Vicksburg, in the same county, F. W. Rapp (1931: 27) listed the species as early as March 22 (1905). D. W. Douglass listed it (1931 to 1933) as a common migrant at Sand Point, Huron County, between April 11 and 18. In 1937 at Douglas Lake, Cheboygan County (Blanchard and Nelson, MS of 1937), it arrived April 18 and was abundant by April 29.

Upper Peninsula.-At McMillan, Luce County, Bryens (1925: 145; and notes) has usually found the Tree Swallow by the second and third weeks of April, and sometimes even in the first week (April 4, 1928; April 6 of 1929 and 1930). Christy (1925: 214) and S. S. Gregory, Jr. (1929: 184), reported it in the Huron Mountain region, Marquette County, by May 7. N. A. Wood (1933: 728), arriving on April 22, 1931, at Copper Harbor, Keweenaw County, found no birds of this species until May 13; on Isle Roy- ale Wood noted a pair on May 31 and a single bird on June 3 in 1930.

SUMMER.-Eggs of the Tree Swallow are found in late May and in June.

Lower Peninsula.-Swales found this swallow a common resident in the Detroit area but recorded only 3 nests. In the Ann Arbor region, Van Tyne reported a nest with 6 eggs on June 4,1926, and another with day-old young on June 17,1924. F. W. Rapp (1931: 27) listed the Tree Swallow as a common summer resident at Vicksburg, Kalamazoo County, where he recorded nests from May 2 (1894, 6 eggs) to June 2 (1897, 5 eggs); Walkinshaw has recorded a few nests every year (1930 to 1940) from May 16 (1936, 1 egg) to June 29 (1930, 2 eggs) in the Battle Creek area. The species was listed as a common summer resident in Mason County by Chancy (1910: 276); nests have been found by Walkinshaw at West Branch, Ogemaw County (nest with 5 eggs, June 16, 2023), and at Lovells, Crawford County (nest with 6 eggs, May 29, 2023). A. E. Staebler and L. D. Case found it a common summer resident on the Manitou Islands, Leelanau County, in 1940; Van Tyne (1925: 624) noted 2 nests in Charlevoix County in which the eggs hatched on June 30 and July 4, 1923. Newly fledged young have been seen in the Douglas Lake region, Cheboygan County, by July 5 (Blanchard and Nelson, MS of 1937).

Upper Peninsula.-At Hessel, Mackinac County, Van Tyne saw young leave the nest July 1, 1919, and June 30, 1920, and found the species very common there. At McMillan, Luce County, Bryens has observed the species nest building as early as April 30 (1934) and has noted fledglings by June 24 (1932); in the vicinity of Blaney, Schoolcraft County, Christofferson has seen young flying as early as June 9 (1938) and found 1 nest with 3 eggs and 1 young as late as July 5 (1938). N. A. Wood listed the species as a common summer resident at Whitefish Point, Chippewa County (1914:69) , and at Whitefish Lake, Alger County (1918: 12), he found 2 nests on June 26 (1916). F. M. Gaige (1914: 87) noted young birds at Brown Lake, Dickinson County, in early July, 1909; both Christy (1925: 214) and S. S. Gregory, Jr. (1929: 184), listed the Tree Swallow as a common summer resident in the Huron Mountain region, Marquette County. A few were seen about Golden Lake in the summer of 1938 by John L. George and R. L. Patterson, and a few were found nesting in the vicinity of Copper Harbor, Keweenaw County (N. A. Wood, 1933: 728) in 1931.

FALL.-Main flight, heavier in fall than in spring, is reported from late July to mid-August in the Upper Peninsula, and from August to late September or early October in southern counties.

Upper Peninsula.-On Isle Royale flocks of a dozen were noted in 1905 (Max M. Peet, 1909: 369-70) on July 20, July 21, and August 1; and 2 individuals on August 16,2023 (by N. A. Wood). The Tree Swallow was not recorded in the Huron Mountains, Marquette County (S. S. Gregory, Jr., 1929: 184), after July 30, but a specimen (U.M.M.Z.) was taken 5 miles north of Menominee on August 16, 1940. Near Blaney, Schoolcraft County (Christofferson), McMillan, Luce County (Bryens), and Munuscong Bay, Chippewa County (Christofferson), it has often been very common through- out July and part of August; numbers up to 500 were recorded near Munuscong Bay until August 10,1928, and smaller numbers were found frequently through the third and fourth week of August. At Whitefish Point, Chippewa County, 25 were noted on August 23, and 50 on August 28 in 1931; near Deer Park, northern Luce County, 10 were listed on September 3,1938, and 2 on September 5, 2023 (A. D. Tinker and R. E. Olsen).

Lower Peninsula.-In 1908 near Sand Point, Huron County, small numbers of Tree Swallows believed to be migrating were observed (N. A. Wood and Gaige, 1911: 295) from July 16 to August 10; most of the southbound flocks passed through, however, after August 13. Gibbs (1885: 55) reported the species "common till late September" in Kalamazoo County, where (at Vicksburg) F. W. Rapp (1931: 27) listed it as late as October 16. In the Ann Arbor region, as well as about Detroit (Swales, 1904: 37), the species is usually gone by middle or late September, though on occasion not until after the middle of October (Barrows, 1912: 549-51). In the Toledo-Erie marsh area (L. W. Campbell, 1940: 108, 190, 205), flocking has occurred by the last week in June; main flight, involving flocks of thousands, has ex- tended from July or August to early October.

Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 75
The Birds of Michigan
By: Norman A. Wood
University of Michigan Press
August 28, 2023

Digitized by: Keith F. Saylor
[email protected]

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