Saturday, November 26, 2011

Declining Barn Swallows

Barn SwallowBarn Swallow, Hillsboro, Oregon, 12 May 2010 by Greg Gillson.


You'd think that the warming climate that is thawing out the northern latitudes would make Canada more desirable to Barn Swallows. Sadly, that doesn't seem to be happening. Instead, the November 2011 issue of Birding magazine has an article explaining that Barn Swallows have been proposed as an endangered bird in Canada.

Barn Swallow frequency on roadside Breeding Bird Surveys in Canada fell 82% from 1966 to 2009. In the US, the population as a whole fell 15% during the same period. But, as in Canada, the most severe declines were on the East and West coasts. This isn't some far away problem. Right here in the Pacific Northwest, Barn Swallow populations fell 65-75% in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, from 1966 to 2009.

What does it mean? No one yet knows, but with the proposed listing in Canada it is starting to get attention.

You may find a previous article on Barn Swallows here.