The swallow initiative started when citizens reported that a colony of bank swallows was rock filled in 2019 on route 535 in Cocagne. The same thing occurred in 2020. However, the group conducts an inventory of bank swallow colonies and it shares its results with Transport NB, Birds Canada and the municipality.

Bank Swallows

It’s an endangered migratory bird whose Canadian population has dropped by 98% in the last 40 years. The bank swallow feeds on insects and migrates from Mexico and the United States to nest in Canada between mid-April and mid-August. It digs burrows which create the famous holes visible on the coast or in quarries. The bank swallow is protected by the Species at Risk Act and the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994, but these laws only protect swallows during nesting time, but unfortunately, the destruction of colonies still takes place during winter.

Tree Swallows

This is the famous blue and white bird that nests in cavities and, most commonly, in human-built birdhouses. It’s a territorial bird that catches more than a thousand mosquitoes a day mid-flight during its nesting time. It finds food in the marshes and by the water. The parents build a beautiful nest with their feathers and with straw. A clutch can have up to 6 young that fly away around mid-July to migrate to the United States.

Louis-Émile Cormier, naturalist and volunteer for the group is very active and has already built and installed over 500 birdhouses in the region. The building plan for the birdhouse can be found here.

At the end of the season, the birdhouses need to be cleaned; this is also a way to determine the success of the birdhouses. The birdhouse mentioned above is also sometimes used by chickadees and Eastern bluebirds.

Barn Swallows

This bird is really a perfect friend on the farm. It almost solely feeds on insects that it catches mid-flight. As with many other swallows, it adapted to humans and prefers building its nest in open barns. But, as with other insectivore and migratory birds, this species is in rapid decline. In the Cocagne region, they have almost completely disappeared. We have tried to attract them to appropriate sites on several occasions using a sound unit.
Unfortunately, the disappearance of farms also contributes to the extinction of the species.

The barn swallow can be identified by its red chest and its typical forked tail. It’s a territorial bird and sufficient space must be left between birdhouses.

Cliff Swallows

You might recognize the nests built in mud under the roof of a wooden building. It’s probably a cliff swallow’s nest. This bird nests in colonies and it’s common to see many nests together. As with the barn swallow, the cliff swallow needs access to mud to build its nest. This bird makes 1000 balls to build a nest for its young.

If you’ve observed an active swallow’s nest in the Cocagne region, please contact us.