Amusing animal antics: tree swallow domestic dispute

by | May 24, 2017

Hilarious Winners of the First Annual ‘Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards’ – recently a couple of friends shared this gallery with me on Facebook. I have seen many of the winning images before and they never fail to make me laugh.  This time, however, the hilarious images awakened a deep longing, the need to marry my own wildlife photographs with my appreciation of comedy. Could I do this as effectively as the award-winning photos? Do I have any photographs that would rise to the level of hilarity?

I dug deep through a sandbox of thousands of animal-related memories and came to the conclusion…

No, I can’t say that I do.

However, with the help of a healthy dose of anthropomorphizing, I realized I have many images that could at least qualify as amusing, especially as a series of images.  So, I’ve decided to create a new blog series called: Amusing animal antics – welcome to the first edition..

Read on and cautiously prepare yourself for the possibility of being assumed, but remember – don’t expect gut-wrenching hilarity.

Tree swallow dispute

Here’s some context: The male tree swallow has a vibrant blue crown and is seen on the left of most photos below, the duller colored bird is the female. I watched the female fly in and out of a nearby nesting box as the male sat close by on the wire – chances are they are mating pair, either dealing with a gang of hungry babies or preparing a nest for the ensuing brood.

‘Dammit Bill! Please get off your tail feathers and help me!’ yells Sarah, an annoyed female tree swallow. Her well-intentioned but lazy partner had pushed her patience to the brink. Day after day, she flew in and out of the fields, collecting nesting material, insects and grubs.  Bill just sat on the wire, pretending to guard their home, but really just avoiding the physically demanding requirements of nesting-box management. A chastised Bill makes the wise choice to fly off and help his partner.

That’s the story I envisioned at least – how about you? If you have any other theories about this interaction, feel free the comment below.

Until next time, continue loving life and everything wild 🙂


  1. Elizabeth

    This is really hilarious. I love the photo of the bird looking like she’s giving her mate hell. Imagine if your made up story is true. Nature at its best.

    • Kerri Martin

      Thanks Elizabeth – I guess there’s no way of knowing that was going on in their minds but it’s fun to try 🙂

  2. Mary Beth Baisi

    Awesome!!! I love it! That was what I was thinking, but I was more thinking about him cleaning up the nest instead of watching mice (football) all day! I actually did LOL! I knew it! Thank you for posting! Please continue with this series! I have a willing candidate over here who provides many opportunities for “dumb dog photos” almost every 30minutes really! In fact you can have him for a weekend if you want! PS he farts! 😉

    • Kerri Martin

      Lol thanks Mary Beth – I will keep the offer in mind if I run out of material for my next edition 🙂

  3. Guy Kinney

    Fantastic photo’s and an amazing, probaly true story. I love the Tree Swallows. My personal favourite of all the birds in the bird kingdom. My love for them began when I was about 5 years old, I will be 64 in June. Way back then, Mandarine Oranges arrived not too long before Christmas, they came from Japan, packed in wooden boxes. My Dad saved a few of the boxes until spring was due to arrive in Edmonton. He and I went to the garage one day and we built a birdhouse with the wood from the Jap Orange Box. (politically incorrect to call them Jap Oranges today but back then that is what we called them). The house me and Dad built was a beauty, he attached it to a pole and attached the pole so that the house was above our roof. Guess what happened? Yes sirree, Tree Swallows arrived, sat on the wires leading into our house, and argued just like your photo’s. Tree Swallows have been my favourite ever since. I continue to build homes for them, and currently have 30 of them, placed along the north bank of the North Saskatchewan River, near 153 Av/Meridian Street. The Tree Swallows love them, and I love them. PS I also really love your photography. Thank you for sharing.

    • Kerri Martin

      What a great story Guy – thanks soo much! I remember those boxes well, I actually only recently realized you can get mandarin oranges any time of year these days, or at least not just at Christmas. I can imagine the tree houses you build with you dad 🙂 How cool – thanks for sharing!

      • Kerri Martin

        Actually Guy I don’t remember the wooden boxes, but I do remember the oranges only coming out around Christmas 🙂


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to my wildlife blog

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

New Store