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What we do for aerial insectivores

Photo: Yousif Attia

Thanks to the involvement of thousands of volunteers, Birds Canada has been conducting research on aerial insectivores for more than 40 years.

Over the past decade, we have increased our conservation action for these birds by developing relationships with private landowners, farmers, businesses, researchers, and government agencies. In collaboration with our partners and supporters, we have undertaken over 35 projects focused on aerial insectivore conservation from coast to coast. These include long-term monitoring projects to improve our understanding of aerial insectivore populations as well as shorter-term research and stewardship projects to advance protection of aerial insectivores and their habitat. Examples:

  • Aerial Insectivore Advocacy – We continue to advocate for improved policy and conservation of aerial insectivores. We wrote an editorial highlighting the challenges that impact aerial insectivores, including human-made factors, land use pressures, and climate change, and presented a five-step path towards conservation and recovery of aerial insectivores.
  • Landowner Stewardship – We encourage the stewardship of swifts and swallows by working directly with landowners and farmers. We recognize dedicated stewards by providing bird-friendly property signs that can be seen by the community.
  • Monitor Aerial Insectivore Populations – We coordinate multiple volunteer programs  to monitor aerial insectivores.
  • Ontario Bank Swallow Research – We work with Environment and Climate Change Canada and Western University to investigate the influence of food availability on Bank Swallow body condition on the breeding grounds.
  • Atlantic Canada Bank Swallow Conservation Strategy – We lead a large working group through conservation planning and strategic collaboration to monitor, conserve, and recover Bank Swallow populations in Atlantic Canada.
  • Tree Swallow Research (Long Point, Ontario; British Columbia) – We collaborate on research to improve our understanding of Tree Swallow migration and breeding habits.
  • Chimney Swift Research – We collaborate with researchers to understand habitat/chimney preferences of nesting and roosting swifts, determine the best conditions for monitoring this species, and identify the importance of roost networks.
  • Ontario Forest Birds At Risk – We work to balance forest management and species conservation in Ontario, which includes active monitoring of Acadian Flycatcher populations on their breeding grounds.
  • Breeding Bird Atlases – We map the distribution and relative abundance of breeding birds, including aerial insectivores.