And with spring comes the return of birdsong, especially with fewer automobiles on the road since COVID-19.

The environmental group Nature Québec has just launched a new campaign entitled Pas de printemps sans ailes in an effort to help the swallows that will be returning to Quebec to nest.

It couldn’t come at a more important time as swallows have seen their numbers dwindle since the 1970s, with certain species decreasing by up to 80%. Many factors explain this phenomenon, notably the disappearance of their habitat and the decline in insects. The barn swallow, for example, likes to nest in old wooden farm buildings, but an increase in steel buildings has left it without a home.  It is the same situation for the bank swallow, which lives in colonies in sand banks. By rock filling and damming river and lake banks, their territory is much more limited.

None of the species that nest in Québec are protected by the Loi sur les espèces menacées ou vulnérables. These unprotected species include the bank swallow, the tree swallow, the cliff swallow, the barn swallow, the purple martin and the North rough-winged swallow.

Nature Québec has created a series of information sheets that describe four of these species and discuss measures to help them in their plight (protecting the nests, limiting the use of herbicides and pesticides and walking your dog on a leash in order not to disturb the fledglings). They have also developed plans to make bird boxes for the tree swallow, a perfect project for these days of isolation.

For more info on the birds of Meadowbrook, click here.

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