The Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) and the Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) are two bird species that have long been associated with agriculture in PEI. In 2010, both species were designated as Threatened by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). In the last 40 years the Bobolink population in Canada has decreased by 88%. Similarly, the Canadian Barn Swallow population has declined by 76%.
Both of these species flourished in PEI during the 1700’s, when settlers began clearing land and raising barns for agriculture. Much of the land that was cleared was planted in hay for livestock, which mimicked the natural grasslands where Bobolinks nest and rear their young, and the large wooden barns provided nesting habitat for Barn Swallows. However, modern agriculture practices have created challenges for these birds which have led to their steep declines.
At Island Nature Trust, we are working with rural landowners and farmers to help protect nesting habitat for these two Threatened species. If you have these species on your property, and are interested in learning more about how you can help protect them, please contact us!
For more information about these species and how you can help, check out the following factsheets that we have developed.