Tree Swallow Nesting Box Program

Tree Swallow Nesting Box Program

Report by Dr. Peter R.B. Ward

Cascade Bird Box Team has been working at McCleery Golf Course, other City of Vancouver courses and several private golf courses since 2014.

Photo by Peter Ward

We have achieved a steady growth in the summer population of Tree Swallows, with the co-operation of Golf Course superintendents. These birds are really good at controlling insects, and are a pleasure to watch. They are dependent for breeding on the presence of a suitable hole in a tree or a man made box. They will not nest in the open. Boxes are very effective on golf courses with substantial ponds, as the swallows can feed on aquatic insects, their preferred diet. The period of occupancy of the boxes is late March to early July.

Cascade Bird Box Team is a volunteer group affiliated with Delta Naturalists Society and with Nature Vancouver. We build boxes from new or used cedar, work with Golf Courses to place boxes in the best locations, and assist with annual maintenance.

Photo by Peter Ward

As an example of our work, we have slowly expanded the number of boxes at McCleery GC from 10 (in 2014) to 31 at present. During the 2019 season, we had 16 breeding pairs of Tree Swallows in our boxes, of which 15 pairs were successful in raising families that fledged. This resulted in an estimated 50 to 60 young birds for the season.

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