Aerial insectivores (birds which feed on insects in flight) are declining for a variety of reasons, one of which is habitat loss. Although swallows are open country birds, Tree Swallows (unlike other swallows), need cavities in trees in which to nest. However, this species readily accepts nest boxes, even if placed on fence posts in the middle of a farmer's field.
As a resource person working with 4H, I will direct this project and work with two of their groups, Woodworking and Great Outdoors to complete the building, erection and monitoring of the boxes. Each child will build and take home two or three nest boxes.
The benefits of this project go beyond the helping of birds. Forty or so children will be involved, and take ownership of these boxes; they will learn about the swallows' life cycle and ecology. They will have the responsibility of maintaining the boxes from year to year.
The nest box is designed to also accept use by the provincially very rare Eastern Bluebird.; because of its rarity, we are not targeting it, but do realize that this project may help it..
We anticipate documenting the project with photographs from early on, and with the first nestings, contacting the media to do a story. This would be our opportunity broadcast the news of the swallows, advertise for 4H and publicly thank The Awesome Foundation for their help.
Funded by Antigonish, NS (February 2018)