Bob Feldman photographed this pair of dueling tree swallows in a small wetlands area near his house. “Under the right conditions, it [is] an ideal environment for a variety of birds, including tree swallows,” he says. Since he lives nearby, Feldman has visited these birds frequently during breeding season, spending a fair amount of time observing and photographing them.
In this photo a male tree swallow is on guard duty atop the tree stump that housed its nest, Feldman says. The swallow pictured near the top of the frame is an intruder, intent on taking over the perching space. To Feldman’s surprise, the perching swallow did not flee, but rose up to attack. The incoming swallow was also surprised and it changed course, departing quickly to the right.
“My field observations tell me that an incoming bird flying at an occupied perch will most likely cause the incumbent to leave the perch, although it may come around and attempt to regain it,” Feldman says. “Apparently that may not be the case when there is a nest to protect.”
This image was a Top 100 photo from the 2013 Audubon Magazine Photography Awards. To see all of the photos, click here.