I didn’t realize until this year that barn swallows — those beautiful brown and black aviators with the long forked tails — were put on the Blue List in B.C. two years ago.
Next step is threatened, then extinct. There has been an approximately 60 per cent decease in their numbers in the past 30 years.
There are two things that have contributed to this — people knocking down their nests and house (English) sparrow attacks.
We can help save these birds by not knocking down their nests. The time from hatching to fledging is only three weeks. Surely we can put up with the mess for the sake of such a beautiful birds — remember also that they eat tons of mosquitoes.
House sparrows, an introduced species, are a menace to many native birds. They eat the eggs or kill the baby birds of cavity nesters (swallows, chickadees, flickers, and blue birds). They are the main reason for the decline in the Purple Martin population.
Every year since the house sparrows moved in we have had dead baby swallows in front of our shop, a favourite swallow nesting site.
Then we see the house sparrow head sticking out of the nest. We have not got a trap and are attempting to eradicate them. Information about trapping can be obtained from www.sialis.org, traps can be obtained from www.sparrowtraps.net.
Information and pictures of blue birds and house sparrows that have been killed by house sparrows can be seen at www.sialis/hospattacks.