Tree Swallow Nest Box Launch with BNS – Sept 13th 2014

The Berwick and Annapolis Valley Chapters teamed up with the Blomidon Naturalist Society to build and launch nest boxes for Tree Swallows. Above are some pictures from the event. Around 15 young people and their parents attended this event on the warm sunny day of September 13th 2014. Visit the photos page to see some pictures of the event:

Here is a message from the BNS Organizer after the event:

hi folks,

This is now an official project :)

Thanks for everyone’s insight and help this weekend. We are off to a really great start, and couldn’t have done it without you.

The hope, as we discussed previously, is that this will be a long-term joint project among our groups. In the next little while we should brainstorm some ideas around the kinds of projects we would like to see happen and how much time and effort would be a reasonable commitment each year.

The minimum we need to do each year, to ensure that boxes are safe and usable is repair, if need be, and clean them out after each winter. We could make this a yearly event (in early April maybe) with BNS/YNC…though it might not be that exciting for kids (birds won’t be around at that time)…maybe there are things we could do to make it more interesting…

Anything we do above and beyond, I think, is an added bonus – and the opportunities are great. Much of what we can do will depend on how many boxes are occupied, and it is possible that it will take a couple of seasons for boxes to fill up. We had a flock of at least 50 Tree Swallows hang out at the Marsh during spring migration this year and 2 that stuck around and tried to make a nest in the huge Wood Duck box that blew down in a storm. I’m betting that we’ll get at least a few pairs next year!

some ideas…

Interpretive sign about the project. 

George made a great suggestion that this might work best near the entrance of the Marsh, and possibly accompanied by an additional nest box there. This would indicate what the boxes are for, that it is a joint effort between BNS and YNC and who they can contact for information.

Annual Nest Check Field Trip

In late May or early June each year, regardless of whether we are carrying out frequent monitoring, we could hold a dedicated BNS/YNC field trip to check box occupancy, do some nest checks etc..

Other possible projects for interested kids/adults…

– adult arrival dates (tracking these each year helps monitor effects of climate change on migration)

– feeding rates (watching parents feed chicks with binoculars or spotting scopes; measuring feeding rates and characterizing delivered food)

– food availability (sampling of insects)

– nest thermal properties (nest temperatures can be easily monitored with cheap data loggers, “ibuttons”, that sit inside the nest)

– nest box cameras (the island boxes will be harder to check so a fun DIY project could be to build/install a solar-powered infra-red nest camera that records nest activity or takes a snapshot of the nest every day to monitor nest success)

– vocalisation projects (characterizing vocal repertoires of adults and chicks, measuring chick begging rates)

– project website (building a website that gives information about the project, shows data collected and projects carried out with the boxes)

– photography projects…

These are just a few ideas and looking forward to hearing more thoughts from you folks.