Every year, we head up to our field sites a few weeks before we start field work full time. These checks are used to set up and make any repairs to the Tree Swallow nest boxes before the birds start nesting.

The tree swallows are the first species to make it back to the breeding grounds. They usually show up by mid-April, but don’t start nesting for a month or more later! We think they come back so early because there are not enough nesting sites for all tree swallows. So the birds that come back earliest have the best chance of securing a nest boxes.

Although the boxes do not have eggs in them yet, the Tree Swallows were quick to defend them when we attempted to check them and make the repairs.

Tree Swallow guarding a nest box.

Tree Swallow guarding a nest box.

A Tree Swallow dive-bombs the swallow team!

A Tree Swallow dive-bombs the swallow team!

We still have another week before starting field work, but I’m very excited for the amazing team we have that are ready to go!

Tara Imlay, PhD Candidate

TaraThis will be my last summer in the field collecting data on swallows. I’m really excited to get back out in the field again and see what we find this year. I also love seeing which of the birds from last year make it back, and catching up with all the landowners who maintain breeding habitat for these species!

Donavon Nickerson, Honours studentDonavon

I am currently finishing my third year at Dalhousie University where I am completing an Honours degree in Biology. I’m really looking forward to this summer as it will be a great learning experience for me. I will not only gain hands-on experience in the field but will get to learn more about swallows and conservation research. I’m also excited to be working with some great people as well as enjoying the outdoors.

Hilary Mann, Field technician

HilaryI graduated with an honours biology degree from Mount Allison University in 2015. In the past, I have been lucky enough to work with Semipalmated Sandpipers in the Bay of Fundy and Hooded Grebes in Argentina, and I am excited to add swallows in the Maritimes to the list! I look forward to broadening my research experience and assisting on such an important conservation project before heading off to obtain a Master’s degree!