I had an all day retreat for a board that I serve on at a nearby lodge within the park. So, I packed all my camera gear and when that was over, waded out into the marsh to see what I could see. Lots of birds were present - blackbirds galore, many species of ducks, a lone American Bittern flew over - but the feisty swallows ended up occupying much of my attention and shutter clicks.
Anyway, to the post's title. The Tree Swallow has long been one of my favorite birds. They seem rich in personality, their flying skills are nearly unrivaled, and they're meat eaters mostly (crunchy insects, but eh? - it's still meat).
Were such an opportunity to come my way, it might well be the Tree Swallow. For me, everything about them conjures good memories. They symbolize winter's end. Tree Swallows make wonderful liquid gurgling sounds, far eclipsing the noises made by many people that I've heard. Their aerial antics are endlessly amusing. The swallows have opted to become our companions of sorts, by utilizing scores of nest boxes that people erect for them (even if the erectors think the boxes are for bluebirds). They are also seemingly without fear, and intelligently opportunistic. I remember standing with a group of birders in a marshside grassy area on a cool day, and we must have been flushing mayflies from the grass. Bold Tree Swallows rocketed through our group at knee height and within inches, as if we were pylons for their flying circus.
When I am gone, I would consider it a great honor if some of my carbon is recycled into a Tree Swallow.