Not long after fall songbird migration wrapped up for another year, two familiar summer residents, the Barn Swallow and Bank Swallow, were officially listed as threatened species under Schedule 1 of the 2002 Species at Risk Act (SARA) in Canada. This moment came many years after COSEWIC, the scientific advisory committee, made the recommendation (2011 for Barn Swallow and 2013 for Bank Swallow). Nature Canada congratulates the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, for pushing these listings through. With natural habitat significantly altered over the past century, swallows, in an incredible demonstration of resilience, have adapted to rely on human structures for breeding habitat. As migratory birds, they are protected under the Migratory Birds Convention Act (1994), and… read more →
This blog was written by Pierre Sadik, our Senior Advisor, Species at Risk. After many years of silence and delay the federal government appears to have heard our voice and the voices of others in the conservation community who have been calling for the listing of Barn and Bank Swallows under the Species at Risk Act (SARA). Hundreds of you sent letters or signed our petition to the Environment Minister and she has listened and finally, after considerable delay, moved to protect Barn and Bank Swallows. The government has given formal notice that these majestic little birds are going to be listed as ‘threatened’ under SARA. This will begin to offer them some protection as the government must, under the Act,… read more →
Since the summer of 2015, Nature Canada has been working on an exciting and many-faceted project called Safeguarding At-risk Birds, Bats & Butterflies in the NatureHood, focused on the Ottawa region. The project, which is funded by the Ontario Government through the Species at Risk Stewardship Fund, includes field surveys, public education and stewardship efforts for 7 local species at risk (with their legal status listed in the parentheses): Bank Swallow (threatened), Barn Swallow (threatened), Chimney Swift (threatened), little brown bat (endangered), northern long-eared bat (endangered), eastern small-footed bat (endangered), and the monarch butterfly (special concern). Through the project we’ve been able to protect (some of) the species we love right in our backyard, while developing initiatives that can be… read more →
In this month’s Nature Canada calendar photo, an exhausted swallow rests after its long migration from the wintering grounds in South America. Its journey may not be over; while the swallows have returned to southern Canada, the migration continues for those returning to areas further north. As you await your first sighting of these agile fliers, the following information may add to your anticipation. Where do they live? The Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) live in open habitats across Canada south of the treeline—in fields, parks, roadway edges, marshes, meadows, ponds, and coastal waters. It has become our neighbour, nesting under the eaves or inside sheds, barns, bridges and other structures. What do they look like? The Barn Swallow is a… read more →
Swallows are beginning to start their spring migration, and they travel hundreds of kilometres a day at a speed of over 30km/h! These small birds are vulnerable to starvation, exhaustion and storms, so when they arrive in Canada they will be grateful for all the help they can get to recover. Before we get started, here’s how to identify swallows. Swallows used to breed in caves, but now almost always nest in the eaves of buildings such as barns. However, they also inhabit much busier places, and can be seen flitting in and around bustling restaurants and markets. For this reason, swallows are one of the most familiar bird species in the world. Even if you didn’t know what it was called,… read more →
A new day may have dawned for Canada’s species at risk. Nature Canada is very pleased that Prime Minister Trudeau has directed Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, to “enhance protection of Canada’s endangered species” as a top priority. Implementing the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA) is critical to this work. Last week, Nature Canada and seven other nature groups wrote a joint letter to Minister McKenna outlining some of the pressing shortcomings in implementing SARA including: Clearing up the backlog of scientifically assessed species at risk not yet declared to be legally at risk Getting caught up in preparing Recovery Strategies for threatened and endangered species Better supporting the work of COSEWIC, the scientific advisory committee on species at… read more →
Spring brings the return of migratory birds! Have you heard them chirping in your backyard? What birds have you seen already moving through as spring rolls in? Many species are now making their way back to Canada for the summer. Nature Canada and young artists worked together to produce a short video on the Bobolink, Chimney Swift and Barn Swallow. Check it out to learn bird-friendly tips and how you can help protect at-risk Canadian birds right where you live! Want more nature news? Subscribe to Nature Canada’s online community! Join Now!