An unsuspecting parent returns to a bird box on the Salmon Arm foreshore on May 14, not aware someone has embarked on a path of destruction of nests. Eggs have been smashed, baby birds have died and even adult birds have been killed. More than 30 bird boxes have been wrecked, mainly between May 10 and May 14, 2021. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)

An unsuspecting parent returns to a bird box on the Salmon Arm foreshore on May 14, not aware someone has embarked on a path of destruction of nests. Eggs have been smashed, baby birds have died and even adult birds have been killed. More than 30 bird boxes have been wrecked, mainly between May 10 and May 14, 2021. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)

Community rallies to counter bird-box destruction at Salmon Arm foreshore

Reward offered, residents donate time, materials, cash

Salmon Arm residents have answered the call from the Salmon Arm foreshore, where a swath of destruction hit 32 bird boxes.

The last boxes damaged, presumably by one person, were discovered on Friday, May 14.

Knocked down and destroyed, the boxes were home to nesting swallows, chickadees and bluebirds. With the exception of one, they were all in use. Eggs were smashed, baby birds died and even a couple of adult birds were killed.

The community has jumped to help in several ways.

Dianne Wittner, a biologist and board member of SABNES (Salmon Arm Bay Nature Enhancement Society) who was instrumental in the project to build the boxes, said donations that have come in for replacement boxes, posts and more will ensure the project continues. Cash donations are also being received. Volunteers are patrolling daily to check every birdhouse.

The Gardom Lake Stewardship Society has offered a $1,000 reward, and posters will be distributed outlining details.

Read more: Destruction of nests, birds at Salmon Arm foreshore described as horrifying

Read more: Video: Handmade homes will help feathered friends on foreshore

Wittner said the Makerspace at the Innovation Centre has launched an effort to build replacement boxes as quickly as possible. People have also offered to build in their own shops. Offers from BC Nature Trust and Vancouver Avian Research have also come in. They have regulation boxes that can be made available to SABNES.

Meanwhile, Salmon Arm RCMP are investigating. Wittner said police have advised anyone who may witness someone damaging the boxes should not approach them but call police immediately.

The bulk of the bird boxes, of which there are more than 80, were created in 2019 as a community project. Eight were found damaged on May 1 and, by May 15, a total of 32 had been destroyed. Although it’s unknown the motive, SABNES members have noted the damage occurred just before the trails were to be closed to dogs for two months during the main bird nesting period.
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