Bird Nest Boxes in Boundary Bay Regional Park
The Delta Naturalists Society maintains about 30 Bird Nest Boxes in Boundary Bay Regional Park. These are primarily for Tree Swallows. There is also one Barn Owl box in a remote area of the park.
Twice a year we monitor the boxes. In the Fall we open the boxes to see which ones have been used for nesting and by which species. We clean-out the boxes and either leave them open or plug the openings for the winter. This is done so that rats and wasps do not use them. In the Spring we open and repair them as necessary.
We are trying to encourage Tree Swallows, which like other insect-eating birds, are declining world-wide. This may be due to habitat loss, pesticide use, changes in insect populations and competition from non-native species like the European House Sparrow. We have tried to discourage House Sparrows by decreasing the size of the opening. Some boxes are in wooded areas to encourage use by the native Black-capped Chickadees.
We record which boxes have been used by each species. Tree swallow nests are usually neat and thin and made of grass and duck feathers. House Sparrow nests are thick and messy and made of grass and duck feathers. Chickadee nests are made of moss and hair. Some boxes have more than one nest on top of each other.
In 2012, 15 boxes were occupied – 2 Swallow, 9 Sparrow, 2 Chickadee, 2 double (Swallow/Sparrow).
In 2013, 6 boxes were occupied – 2 Swallow, 3 Sparrow, 1 Chickadee, 25 empty. (So many were empty because baffles had been put on most to reduce the opening size so that Sparrows could not fit. Swallows must have had trouble too. Most of these were removed for the next year.)
In 2014, 16 boxes were occupied – 4 Swallow, 11 Sparrow, 1 double (Chickadee/Sparrow), 15 empty.
In 2015, 20 boxes were occupied – 8 Swallow, 9 Sparrow, 3 Chickadee, 11 empty.
In 2016, 23 boxes were occupied – 9 Swallow, 10 Sparrow, 2 Chickadee, 2 double (Swallow/Sparrow), 6 empty.
|Nest boxes||Top species|
|Location||Tree swallow||Chickadee||House sparrow||Empty||Box not checked||Missing – does not exist||Grand Total|
bbrp_nestbox_data_compare 2012-2017.doc compares nestbox data from 2012-2017
bbrp_nestbox_data_2016-10-06.docx occupancy & repair status of nestboxes (Oct. 2016)
bbrp_nestbox_map.pdf map of nestboxes in BBRP (March 2017)
Below are links to Reports about Bird Box maintenance.
BBRP – Swallow Box Activity Report May 23, 2017. Report & summary by Chris McVittie, with endoscope photos of Tree Swallow nests & eggs.
BBRP Fall Nestbox Report Oct. 6, 2016 Oct. 6, 2016. Fifteen Delta NatureKids and their parents joined some Delta Naturalists when the boxes were opened and examined.
Delta Naturalists’ Program helping birds find a place to nest at Kings Links Apr. 29, 2016 article in Delta Optimist by Dave Willis, about bird nest boxes at Kings Links
DNS Barn Owl Box “Tour” at King’s Links, November 12, 2015, by Tom Bearss
Delta Naturalists Bird Box Summary – November 2015, November 2015, by Jack MacDonald
BBRP Nestbox Report-Spring 2014, Feb. 25, 2014, by Tom Bearss
BBRP Nestbox Review-Fall 2013, Oct. 8, 2013, by Tom Bearss
Nestbox Construction with Peter Ward & Ken Hall, Oct 6 & Oct. 13, 2012 Photos of Swallow Nest Box construction at Peter’s home