The Sunshine Coast Wildlife Project is inviting community members to help conserve local wildlife by reporting bat roosts and swallow nests, and by participating in monitoring efforts for these two threatened groups.
The Annual BC Bat Count is a province-wide citizen science effort. Last year, the program collected baseline data on bat populations at over 200 sites, and organizers hope to find more roosts to monitor in 2019.
Local bats face many threats, including habitat loss, declines in insect populations, and white nose syndrome, a devastating fungal disease that is deadly to bats but harmless to humans. The disease has already killed millions of bats across North America and is now spreading within Washington state. Residents who have bats roosting in a building or bat house, and those wishing to volunteer with the counts, are asked to contact the Wildlife Project at firstname.lastname@example.org or 604-989-1007.
Community members are also asked to report barn swallow nests. This migratory species arrives on the Sunshine Coast in late April, and nests almost exclusively in or on human structures such as houses, barns, boathouses, and sheds, where pairs build nests of mud mixed with grasses. Once one of Canada’s most common birds, the species has experienced devastating losses, with populations declining by 90 per cent in the past 40 years, related to insect population declines and habitat loss.
By monitoring these two threatened groups, biologists aim to better understand species distributions, habitat preferences, and normal variations in colony sizes, and to track local population trends.
The Wildlife Project gratefully acknowledges funding support from Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, the Forest Enhancement Society of BC, Habitat Stewardship Program, BC Naturalists’ Foundation, Gencon Foundation, Sunshine Coast Community Foundation, the SCRD, and the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program. To learn more, see coastwildlife.ca or www.facebook.com/coastwildlife.
– By Michelle Evelyn