Male Bluebird Feeding Tree Swallow Nestlings

Male Bluebird Feeding Tree Swallow Nestlings

Julian Avery, assistant research professor of wildlife ecology and conservation in the College of Agricultural Sciences, explains, "During our research on industrial noise pollution we unexpectedly observed a male eastern bluebird feeding the nestlings of another species, the tree swallow. While this is not normal and is seldom seen, it does shows how the overriding drive to care for young can lead to cases of mistaken identity and parental care for the wrong species. The bluebird had nested successfully in this box a few weeks earlier and was kicked out by the tree swallows. At the time this was filmed he even had a new clutch of eggs with his original partner in a neighboring box a few feet away." 

Julian Avery