Violet-green Swallow,Tachycineta thalassina. (Plate 11.3) Male length 4 3/4 in (12 cm), female length 4 1/2 in (11.5 cm); male weight 1/2 oz (15.6 g), female weight 1/2 oz (15.5 g). Common summer resident in the White-Inyo mountain region, between 6,750 and 10,300 ft (2,060 and 3,140 m).
The Violet-green Swallow, one of the most conspicuous birds in the mountains, can be seen overhead on virtually any day. It is most common near cliffs or rocky outcrops above 7,500 ft (2,290 m), with numbers declining in the warmer areas below. Several pairs may form loose colonies in the vicinity of such cliff sites. Unlike most other swallows, this species build nests in two distinct kinds of places: either in rock crevices or in abandoned woodpecker cavities in aspens and conifers. The adults
commonly perch on dead limbs of pines or aspens near the nest. This species feeds entirely on small insects caught on the wing. Reference: Grinnell and Storer (1924).