Nature PEI’s Annual General Meeting:
Nature PEI is kicking off the New Year with its Annual General Meeting on January 9 at 7:30 pm at the Beaconsfield Carriage House in Charlottetown. The meeting will feature guest speaker, Shannon Mader, Species at Risk Manager with Island Nature Trust (INT). Shannon will discuss INT’s work to monitor PEI’s Bank Swallow population. Admission is free and all are welcome to attend.
Shannon has worked on many of INT’s projects since starting there in 2004. She coordinated the INT’s Piping Plover Stewardship Program for many years, has developed and delivered education programs to thousands of Island students, led countless field outings, and helped to mobilize hundreds of community scientists to assist with wildlife monitoring, including a group of dedicated volunteers who monitor bank swallow colonies across PEI. The Bank Swallow (Riparia riparia) is a small songbird that eats insects while in flight. The Bank Swallow has a widespread distribution. They are known to breed in every province and territory in Canada except Nunavut and spend their winters in South America. In PEI, Bank Swallows breed in colonies that range in size from a couple of pairs to a few hundred pairs. They dig nesting burrows in the vertical banks along the Island’s coast and sometimes in human-made areas like sand pits. The Bank Swallow was listed as ‘Threatened’ under Canada’s Species at Risk Act in 2013. From 1970-2011, the Bank Swallow population in Canada declined 98% over 41 years, and from 2001-2011, the population continued to decline 31%. This steady decline prompted INT to begin monitoring Bank Swallow populations in 2013. This monitoring effort has intensified in recent years. In 2022, Island Nature Trust staff and volunteers surveyed 53 kilometers of PEI’s coastline and located 42 breeding colonies. This brings the total to 142 breeding Bank Swallow colonies located and surveyed since 2020. Understanding where Bank Swallow breeding colonies are on the landscape is a first step in making informed land management and conservation decisions towards species recovery.