Ontario Bank Swallow Project

Bank Swallow populations have declined at a rate of 4.7% annually in Ontario over the last 40 years. Significant breeding range contractions were also identified during the recent Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas. The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada has recognized the Bank Swallow as a “mid-priority candidate” for status assessment; potentially adding it to a growing list of aerial insectivores at risk (e.g., Chimney Swift). The mechanisms driving these declines are unknown, but are generally thought to be a consequence of habitat loss, changes in forage base (i.e., aerial insects), and threats during migration and on the wintering grounds.

Currently, Bird Studies Canada (BSC) is undertaking plans for a new, province-wide Bank Swallow research project in partnership with Ontario Power Generation, Environment Canada, and Beacon Environmental. The objectives of this project are to locate, monitor, and gather basic habitat information at active Bank Swallow colonies throughout Ontario. In addition, BSC is interested in documenting significant post-breeding and pre-migratory roost sites throughout Ontario. This project will rely greatly on the involvement of volunteers to collect and submit data for active Bank Swallow colony and roost sites. This project is an excellent opportunity for “citizen scientists” to directly contribute to Bank Swallow population monitoring and conservation efforts.

Participating in the project is simple. Volunteers locate Bank Swallow colonies and roost sites, record how many birds/burrows are present and gather basic habitat information, and submit the data online. Multiple visits to sites are highly recommended, if possible. If you are interested in participating in this project, you can download the Bank Swallow Project: Volunteer Guide and data forms. Interested volunteers can also contact the Project Coordinator for more details.

To volunteer or provide observations, contact:
Kathy Jones, Volunteer Coordinator, volunteer@birdscanada.org, 1-888-448-2473 ext. 124

For more information on the Ontario Bank Swallow Project, contact:
Myles Falconer, Ontario Project Biologist, 1-888-448-2473 ext. 165; mfalconer@birdscanada.org

Assistance for this project was provided by the Government of Ontario