Gimme Shelter: Local Corporations Bring Birds to the Built Environment

Tree Swall Box

North America has witnessed a rapid decline in bird populations in the last fifty years. Nearly three million birds are missing from our skies. Urban development leading to habitat loss is a key contributor to dwindling numbers. Here’s how three local organizations are helping slow this trend by creating safe habitat for birds to nest, rest and hunt on their properties.

Business for the birds

In 2003, peregrine falcons chose the CRH Canada Mississauga cement plant as a nesting site, and they’ve been there ever since. With help from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, the chicks are banded each year and monitored by CRH volunteers until they leave the nest. In addition to supporting the falcons, CRH Canada installed tree swallow nesting boxes as part of the Lake Ontario Flyway Habitat Project. The boxes are well-used by these migrating birds and play an important role in ensuring their survival.

Bird-conscious construction

When GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) discovered their planned renovation of a multi-level parking structure would displace barn swallows that nested high along the concrete slabs they took action. To protect this threatened species, they built a large-scale structure with nesting platforms to accommodate the birds’ breeding needs. GSK’s actions demonstrate the built environment and birds can co-exist. Consciously considering how building projects impact wildlife will help us move toward more environmentally friendly urban design.

Nesting Site for Barn Swallows

Stand-alone structure provides nesting sites for barn swallows at GlaxoSmithKline in Mississauga.

Parish preserves habitat

St. Elias the Prophet Ukrainian Church is situated among rapidly developing farm fields along Heritage Road. The Parish has gone to great lengths to preserve the natural heritage of their property which includes a woodlot and meadow. In 2017, they installed eight chickadee, two nuthatch and four house wren habitat boxes in and along the woodlot. In the meadow, they added two tree swallow/bluebird boxes and ten native bee boxes. Their actions provide safe nesting sites to a diversity of birds and bees, supporting seed dispersal, insect control and pollination.

If You Build It…

Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) supports businesses and places of worship in providing safe habitat for nesting birds. We can help you determine what habitat structures are best suited for your property and offer a wide selection of boxes for bats, songbirds, raptors, owls and waterfowl. We also custom design and construct larger habitat projects like raptor poles, barn swallow nesting structures and snake hibernacula.

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