At 9:30 am on April 16th, fifteen volunteers came out to the marsh to participate in one of our most important conservation projects-Tree Swallow and Blue Bird nest box clean out
According to the last survey in the “The atlas of Breeding Birds of Ontario”, there has been an annual decline of tree swallow populations by 2.6%, representing an estimated 25% population loss in the last 25 years. The primary reasons for this drastic decline, as for all other aerial insectivores in Ontario, is likely related to factors affecting their common food source and breeding habitat, such as agricultural pesticide use, and difficulty in finding nesting cavities because of habitat loss. It has been suggested that tree swallow breeding populations are limited by an availability of nesting sites, and that a tree swallow will readily use artificial nest boxes installed near human populations.
By providing nesting opportunities HMREC volunteers are hoping to reverse the trend of declining swallow populations in our region.
Our 15 volunteers split into two groups. One group headed to the New Liskeard lagoons and the other focused on the boxes along highway 569. Boxes around the marsh cells were done earlier in the week by Curtis and Clayton Quinton. At each location, every box was checked and a census was taken on nesting success, and species type. The old nests were removed in preparation for the returning birds. It is important to note that one tree swallow was sighted along highway 569! I suppose she was waiting for us to finish so she could move in!
If you would like to learn more about this important conservation project or help support it by sponsoring a swallow box click on the Research Projects link on our home page.