Barn Swallow

Hirundo rustica

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Habitat

Status

Threatened (Federal)
Blue List (Provincial)

Description

The Barn Swallow is a medium-sized songbird with steely-blue upperparts, cinnamon underparts and a chestnut throat and forehead. There is a white band across the tail, which has a forked appearance due to elongated outer tail feathers

Barn Swallows have rapidly shifted from natural to artificial nesting sites due to human development and expansion. Natural sites they may still use include cliff faces, river edges and canyon walls. They are mostly associated with nesting sites in man made or artificial structures that have a horizontal or a vertical face with something overhanging to provide shelter, e.g. barns, garages, bridges, and culverts. Nests are usually situated on beams, posts, ledges or over windows and doors a They usually nest near somewhere wet or where there is water as they require mud pellets for their nests.
Barn Swallows are found in the Okanagan and Similkameen from May to September, with a few individuals sometimes arriving in as early as Feburary.

Threats

-Loss of nesting sites do to conversion of old wooden structures to more modern buildings that are less suitable for nesting
-Large scale decline in abundance of flying insects due to pesticide overuse
-Competition for nesting sites with invasive house sparrows
-Removal of nests for building maintenance and cleaning.

You Can Help!

-Protect and conserve wildlife habitat
-Retain structures that may contain nesting sites
-Install Barn Swallow boxes or houses
-Avoid using pesticides

Resources