Organic farmers helping bring back swallows, chimney swifts

One group is trying to reintroduce two birds to New Brunswick farmers and their land.

Bird Studies Canada wants to see 2 threatened bird species back on New Brunswick farms

A mother chimney swift and her nest inside a barn. (Swift Watch)

One group is trying to reintroduce two birds to New Brunswick farmers and their land.

Bird Studies Canada in Sackville wants to see swallows and chimney swifts back on farms, so they surveyed organic farmers in southeastern New Brunswick to see if they are willing to encourage the animals to nest.

Both swallows and chimney swifts are threatened in New Brunswick and Alison Manthorne is trying to revitalize the populations.

"We found out that the majority of landowners were keen on supporting swifts and swallows on their land. Many didn't know what they should and shouldn't be doing to encourage the birds. A lot just wanted ideas on how they could help."

According to Manthorne, most of the farmers surveyed have memories of both birds frequenting their properties growing up.

"They are aerial insectivores …  so they feed on flying insects and the group as a whole are declining more rapidly than any other bird group in Canada," said Manthorne.

Habitat loss is one of the main reasons the birds aren't flying around nearly as often as they used to.

Manthorne said they gave farmers three tips on how to keep the birds around, but also invite new flocks to their farmland.

"By providing nesting habitats such as a source of mud on your property, access to a building such as a barn and maintaining foraging areas that provide insects for the birds to eat."

Farmers and landowners can also become citizen scientists, telling Bird Studies Canada what they see and how they're doing with the birds.

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