Safe places for small birds to nest were once difficult to come by along Salmon Arm’s foreshore trail.
When biologist and member of the Shuswap naturalists, Dianne Wittner first began looking at the state of the bird houses in the Salmon Arm Bay area approximately three years ago, only nine of the few that were installed allowed the chicks hatched there to survive.
On April 3, installation began on a large batch of newly constructed bird houses that will bring the total number in the bay up to more than 100.
The new bird houses were built by South Canoe Elementary students with help from volunteers at the Shuswap Makerspace.
Wittner said improperly-designed bird houses can be death traps for the swallows and other small birds that may use them as nests. As such, the houses built by the South Canoe students are rain-resistant and suitably ventilated; they sport ladders on the insides the birds can use to get out and open from the side so volunteers can give them a necessary annual cleaning.
The added nesting capacity the new bird houses will give to the area is much needed as Wittner said fierce competition among swallows for the safe nesting sites has been observed.
Roger Beardmore, a member of the Shuswap Naturalists who was overseeing installation of the bird houses on April 3, said the community has gotten behind the project. Rona provided posts for the bird houses to be mounted on at cost, and Warner Rentals gave them a power auger with a full tank of gas.