Tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) are amazing bug-seeking aerialists. They are given public housing in several locations in New York City, including Governors Island and Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.


Tree Swallows on Governors Island 2018

When Governors Island reopened on May 1, 2018, we were on the first ferry at 10 a.m. I especially wanted to see if the tree swallows were reestablishing their nests. They were!

Tree swallow, Governors Island, May 1, 2018

Tree swallow, Governors Island, May 1, 2018

The second Filming the Feathers video featuring the tree swallows is set on Governors Island and is accompanied once again by Papalin playing Béla Bartók.

These photos were all taken on May 1, 2018, on Governors Island.

Tree Swallows at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge 2017

These tree swallows were at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge on May 14 and 16, 2017. In the Filming the Feathers video, they are seen soaring over the water and trees, going in and out of their nest boxes, perching briefly on branches, nest boxes and refuge signs, and mating on a tree branch.

Tree swallow, Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, May 16, 2017

Tree swallow, Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, May 16, 2017

I set the Filming the Feathers video to music by Béla Bartók (Romanian Folk Dances, Sz. 56, arranged for recorders, performed by Papalin) and Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky (the Scherzo Pizzicato movement of Symphony No. 4, F Minor, Op.36, credited to European Archives), both pieces obtained from, a royalty-free music source.

Richard Farina wrote a beautiful folk song in the 1960s, A Swallow Song. It was recorded by Richard and Mimi Farina, Joan Baez, and Mimi and Joan Baez. I love the first two verses:

"Come wander quietly and listen to the wind
Come near and listen to the sky
Come walking high above the rolling of the sea
And watch the swallows as they fly

"There is no sorrow like the murmur of their wings
There is no choir like their song
There is no power like the freedom of their flight
While the swallows roam alone"

These photos are from the May 14 and 16, 2017, trips to Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.