Barn Swallow habitat project off to a flying start

Following the success of a spur-of-the-moment springtime fundraising effort, the habitat structure in the Meadowlands Conservation Area hosted its first nests just a few months after it was built. The structure will provide vital habitat for the barn swallow, a provincially-listed Species at Risk.

Readers may remember an earlier for call for donations to provide a much-needed habitat structure in the Meadowlands Conservation Area. Barn swallows, a provincially-listed Species at Risk, had begun nesting in nooks and crannies around the exterior of the houses that surround the Conservation Area. As a result, the Foundation put out a call in these pages for donations to help build a habitat structure.

Thanks to the community’s generosity and a grant from the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, we were able to get the structure built in the Conservation Area before nesting season began. The structure, built with help from Bird Studies Canada, mimics the conditions the swallows used to enjoy in the barns and outbuildings which occupied the land before it was developed into housing. A variety of cups, ledges and corners populate
the structure’s interior.

The summer was spent with Hamilton Conservation Authority staff nervously checking for signs of the elusive birds. One afternoon at the beginning of the Fall, our efforts were rewarded when two of the barn swallow’s distinctive mud nests were found tucked into the sturcture’s corners.

The Meadowlands Conservation Area, with its diversity of native shrubs and grasses, is an ideal hunting ground for the barn swallow. The swallows feed on a variety of insects and enjoy hunting in the large open spaces the Conservation Area offers.