Barn swallow, bobolinks conservation project sees success

An Island Nature Trust project to protect barn swallows and bobolinks is seeing success, and now the trust is looking to aim higher.

Island Nature Trust hoping to build big barn swallow structure, but group needs a partner

The Island Nature Trust hopes it can help barn swallow and bobolink numbers to rebound. (CBC)

An Island Nature Trust project to protect barn swallows and bobolinks on P.E.I. is seeing success, and now the trust is looking to aim higher.

Last year the Island Nature trust started asking residents to track the two endangered songbirds, and help make their environments more welcoming. They had many volunteers.

"A lot of people came to me and asked me to come out and see their bobolink or barn swallows," said Shaylyn Wallace, program coordinator for the trust.

"They just wanted to know how to help them."

Shaylyn Wallace says she has been consulting with lots of Islanders on how to improve barn swallow and bobolink habitat. (CBC)
People were asked to open up their barns to allow the swallows access, and to delay hay cutting to mid-July. Bobolinks nest in hay fields and need the time to finish raising their young.

"I didn't realize that they were on the endangered list," said J'Nan Brown, who invited the Island Nature Trust to see the barn swallows on her property.

"I guess it's partly because barns are mostly kept shut,"

Wallace said there are other simple ways to help, such as putting up ledges and making mud puddles so swallows can use the mud for their nests.

Building homes for swallows

Leaving barns open allows swallows to enter and make nests. (CBC)
The Island Nature Trust doesn't know yet if the program has increased the songbird population. They are working on collecting that data.

The trust has also been speaking with some communities in Ontario which have erected large structures for swallows to nest in.

They say they'd like to build something similar here, but they first have to find a partnering organization to help fund raise and someone to help build the structure.

Blake Loo shared this photo of barn swallows at his farm last week. (Submitted by Blake Loo)


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