Photo: A tree swallow and a barn swallow, side by side

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Barn vs. Tree Swallow

credit: Scott Heron

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It’s fun to see these two species perched right next to each other, offering us an opportunity for comparison.

The tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) on the left has a clean white front, while the barn swallow (Hirundo rustica) on the right has a tawny breast. The names refer to their preferred nesting places. The tree swallow builds nests in tree hollows, while the barn swallow nests almost exclusively in made-made structures, according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

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