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A bird box (Photo by NCC)

A bird box (Photo by NCC)

November 13, 2018 | by Logan Salm

This spring, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) held a Conservation Volunteers event at NCC’s Edenwold property to install bird boxes. In typical Saskatchewan fashion, it had been 30 C all week, but as soon as the field day came, the temperature dropped, and the winds became gusty. Despite the weather, the enthusiastic volunteers were happy to be outside.

All hands on deck to install nest boxes for bluebirds at Edenwold property, SK (Photo by NCC)

All hands on deck to install nest boxes for bluebirds at Edenwold property, SK (Photo by NCC)

Everyone was in high spirits, and that led to some cheerful, not to mention quirky, conversation. Somehow, the discussion led to everyone speculating on the real estate value of the bird houses and the best way to advertise to the birds that there were some beautiful bungalow-style houses available in the area. Some of my favourite suggestions included:

  • Placing little for sale signs around the property;
  • Putting an ad in the latest bluebird gazette;
  • Setting up meetings with the local birds to discuss their finance options;
  • And a particularly expressive bird call that was accompanied by a full mating dance.
Tree swallow (Photo by Chelsea Clem)

Tree swallow (Photo by Chelsea Clem)

After the conversation about how to best sell some bird real estate, the discussion turned to how the birds would enjoy the houses. Some birds, like tree swallows, don’t mind having neighbours and can live within 2.7 metres of each other. But bluebirds prefer to have around 90 metres of space between their bird house and other birds. The thought of bluebirds shaking their fist at their neighbours and building a little fence to block the view made everyone roar with laughter.

Of course, birds don’t have real estate agents or human thoughts, but they are adaptive, amazing and can survive in some of the toughest conditions in the world. That is why the downward trends in bird populations is so worrisome. Any species that can survive the cold of a Saskatchewan winter or migrate thousands of kilometres is pretty tough, but these species are still becoming more and more threatened. This is a sign that humans are creating an incredibly harsh environment for so many species. It is going to be up to us to make sure that these amazing animals continue to thrive in the future.

Conservation Volunteers pose with their nest boxes at Edenwold property, SK (Photo by NCC)

Conservation Volunteers pose with their nest boxes at Edenwold property, SK (Photo by NCC)

Birds don’t have little bird real estate agents looking out for their family, but they do have the amazing volunteers at NCC. I know it gives me hope to know that there are people willing to brave the cold to make sure species like tree swallows and bluebirds continue to thrive.

Together, we can help make a difference by providing habitats for birds — one bird box at a time.

Logan Salm, former communications intern for NCC's Saskatchewan Region (Photo by NCC)

About the Author

Logan Salm was a 2018 summer communications intern for the Nature Conservancy of Canada in Saskatchewan.

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