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Posts Tagged ‘Atlas of Breeding Birds of Ontario’

birdhouse2

Every winter, I think I will get around to building a birdhouse or two. I’m not particularly competent with a saw and hammer, but surely this is a basic enough task that even I might manage it. Every spring arrives with no new birdhouse. This year, I was anxious to get a few boxes up for swallows around the pond, and as the breeding season is upon us, I went out and bought several. I have had good luck in the past with the cedar houses carried by Walmart, pictured above, with Tree Swallows (Tachycineta bicolor), House Wrens (Troglodytes aedon), and on one momentous occasion even an Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) pair successfully nesting and fledging young from this model. Bigger boxes would be better for Tree Swallows. Unfortunately, these are the best I’ve located, but hopefully I’ll be able to find or build bigger ones to replace them with down the road.

equipment

The quickest, easiest method I have found to get a birdhouse mounted on a post and installed is to use one of the metal spikes designed to support 4 x 4 posts. Even in rather rocky terrain, I was able to install them myself, and here in sandy soil, it’s a snap.
I put up three houses in likely locations around the pond in the afternoon and when I went out the next morning, they were being checked out by Tree Swallows.

swallowonbox

The Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario (2001-2005) offers the most comprehensive information available on who breeds where in the province. The current Atlas is the second edition and updates the status of breeding birds in Ontario from the first Atlas, completed in 1981-85. Since the 1980s, there has been a decline of up to 30 to 50 per cent in birds such as the Common Nighthawk, the Chimney Swift and six species of swallow. According to the Atlas, the Tree Swallow population overall in Ontario declined by 17%, but because of limitations in Atlas methodology in assessing population numbers, the actual decline may be greater. Annual Bird Studies Canada Breeding Bird Surveys show a decline of 2.6% every year over the 1981-2005 period. Barn Swallows (Hirundo rustica) showed a 35% decline using Atlas data, while annual Breeding Bird Surveys show an annual decline of 3.5% every year on average over the 1981-2005 period.

You can read more about the Atlas at the Environment Canada site. You can purchase the Atlas through Ontario Nature.

pondview

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