2015 Information Meeting Thursday April 9th 7:00 PM Chilliwack Secondary School
Barn, Bank, and Cliff Swallows have been designated as species at risk in Canada.
We are looking for volunteers to help monitor critical habitats for these birds in the Fraser Valley during the spring and summer. The information collected will help to establish conservation strategies and stewardship actions to foster their survival, and for enhancement of their declining habitat in BC. No prior experience needed, training will be provided.
Thursday April 9th there will be an information meeting for anyone interested in participating in this citizen science study at 7:00 PM at
Neighborhood Learning Centre
Chilliwack Secondary School
46361 Yale Rd, Chilliwack BC V2P 2P5
For further information phone Fernando Selles at 604-792-8062, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Documenting and Conserving Barn Swallow Project
Swallow Surveys and Stewardship Project
To find out more about this project,
submit known nest and roost sighting information, be a survey and research
volunteer, or help in any other way (e.g., inform others about the project),
please see this website http://bcswallowconservationproject.wordpress.com
or contact Greg Ferguson at email@example.com
Ferguson, Registered Professional Biologist, B.Sc.
Columbia (BC) and the Lower Mainland are rich in natural diversity: forest clad
mountains; freshwater, estuarine, and coastal habitats; and valley bottom
floodplains, wetlands, and agricultural fields sustain a variety of processes
and species, and ultimately our health. We are truly fortunate to live in here.
many naturalists know, birds are an important and noticeable component of this
diversity. However, many of the species that occur in BC, particularly the Lower
Mainland, have declined and even disappeared from former suitable habitats. Much
of this change has been documented by naturalists, with an aim to inform
non-naturalists and help conserve the area’s biodiversity which they value
group of bird species that has declined and continues to face ongoing threats,
both locally and internationally, are grassland and wetland associated species.
Birds that come to mind include the raptors, such as the Burrowing Owl, which
formerly bred in Boundary Bay, Sea Island, and elsewhere, the Short-eared and
Barn Owl, still present in the Lower Mainland but in significantly reduced
numbers, and the swallows. Like these after mentioned owls, we continue to
witness a decline in one of Canada’s most formerly common bird species, the
Barn Swallow (i.e., Breeding Bird Survey data from 1970 to 2009 indicates an
overall decline of 76% and a decadal decline of 30% from 1999 to 2009).
you may wonder, what can I do to slow, stop, and reverse this change? I’ll be
the first to admit that it’s not an easy problem to solve. However, I’m also
an optimist and believe that each of us has the ability to take actions that can
sustain and enhance our local biodiversity. This article is about one such
positive action, for which I hope you will appreciate, mimic in your own way,
and/or become involved with directly.
goal of our project is to obtain knowledge about the population and distribution
of Barn Swallow and to encourage shared stewardship and conservation actions for
the species and its habitat. This project will be undertaken from the spring of
2014 to the fall of 2015, and possible beyond. Its objectives are to:
status and distribution of Barn Swallows and their important habitats (i.e.,
foraging, breeding, and roosting areas).
research to better understand the use of nesting sites by Barn Swallows to
inform future stewardship and enhancement actions.
monitor, and maintain nesting structures and educational signs in suitable
with a diversity of partners to foster awareness of and appreciation for the
species, advance cooperation in implementing conservation and recovery actions,
and encourage long-term stewardship of Barn Swallows.
conservation and stewardship activities around habitats used by Barn Swallows
for the benefit of other associated species of concern.
Actions associated with this project will focus on the Lower
Mainland region of southwestern BC, including Metro Vancouver and the Fraser
Valley Regional District. However, the involvement of others from elsewhere in
BC is encouraged and appreciated. At this time, achieving the project’s goal
and objectives will be a voluntary and collaborative effort.
To assess the
status and distribution of Barn Swallows and their important habitats, surveys
will be completed between April 15th and September 15th,
with a primary focus on June and July, the peak breeding period for Barn
Swallows. Surveys will focus on suitable habitats for Barn Swallows in protected
and non-protected habitats. Baseline data (e.g., known nesting sites, the
location of historical observations) will be used to guide survey efforts. The
number of areas surveyed will ultimately depend on available resources (i.e.,
primarily be performed by walking or cycling along designated trails within
protected areas or traveling by bicycle or in a vehicle along linear routes
(e.g., roads), likely involving the use of stand watches
at certain locations.
Team leaders are
being sought to help coordinator surveys and associated volunteers within
specific areas (e.g., municipality, regional park) or assume other leadership
responsibilities, such as leading surveys in a particular protected or
non-protected area(s) (e.g., golf course), leading nesting site enhancement and
research, and/or helping with administrative tasks.
Surveyors will be
asked to survey suitably habitats at least once per month during the survey
period/window, ideally with more surveys being done in June and July. Surveyors
will be required to enter field data into an online database of Excel
spreadsheet following each survey to track, analyze, and report results.
Standard survey forms will be used to collect desired data and training will be
provided prior to field work.
Research will be
undertaken to better understand the use of nesting sites by Barn Swallows to
inform future stewardship, enhancement, and management actions. As such,
volunteers are being sought to help collect data on Barn Swallows through the
use of known active nesting sites (i.e., presence/absence of breeding birds,
number and location of nests, and reproductive success).
use of new nesting sites where enhancement measures (e.g., placement of ledges
and/or overhanging cover, construction of new nest structures) have been
location, distance traveled, and habitat being used at active nest sites.
how will volunteer contributions to this project help and what will information
be used for? Information collected through volunteer involvement in this project
will help achieve the project’s goal and objectives and the following results:
to recovery planning and implementation for Barn Swallow and other species of
concern by government agencies and other stakeholders (e.g., facilitating
responsibilities under Canada’s Species
at Risk Act).
base for future monitoring and management actions to conserve and enhance Barn
Swallows and their habitats.
project is being conducted in collaboration with a diversity of partners,
including the general public, naturalist groups and their members, government
agencies, public institutions, private businesses, and others.
If you would like to find out more about this project, submit known nest and roost sighting information, be a survey and research volunteer, or help in any other way (e.g., inform others about the project), please see this website http://bcswallowconservationproject.wordpress.com or contact Greg Ferguson at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ferguson, Registered Professional Biologist, B.Sc.
Barn Swallow Facts
of Barn Swallows in BC is highest in the Lower Mainland region.
Swallows are closely associated with human-influenced habitats, nesting almost
exclusively in or on human-made structures [i.e. 92% of nests in BC were found
in or on buildings, including barns, garages, sheds, and houses, whereas other
structures, such as bridges and wharfs, made up 4% of nest locations (n =
Swallows commonly reuse nests from previous years and can produce two clutches
are important cues in site selection decisions by adult and juvenile Barn
significant positive relationship exists between the number of old nests at a
site and group size (i.e., number of Barn Swallow breeding pairs).
Barn Swallows forage up to 600 m from active nest sites, but at times only up to
138 m, making finding their nest sites easier (e.g., one can simple look for
nests on or in buildings/structures near Barn Swallow foraging areas during the
Swallows usually fly and forage no more than 10 m above the ground and often
lower than 1 m.
Swallows concentrate in large numbers (2000 plus birds) at communal, wetland
roost sites during migration (please contact me if you know of such sites
Swallow, adult male, BC (© Brian Klinkenberg)
 A stand watch is a method of surveying whereby surveyors stand in one location and assess an area for the presence of Barn Swallows, usually for a set duration of time (e.g., 10-15 minutes).