Delta Naturalists' program helping birds find a place to nest at Kings Links

Birds are getting some human help when it comes to finding a place to nest at Kings Links Golf Course.

There are 50 tree swallow nest boxes set up of the East Ladner course as part of a Delta Naturalists Society program. The most recent ones were installed last week.

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"They're here. This is their habitat," says Delta Naturalists Society president Tom Bearss. "So why not build houses for them?" Boxes were first installed there in 2012, Bearss says, noting each year boxes are built, fixed and sometimes moved.

He says tree swallows are cavity nesters and usually nest in holes in trees. A "kiosk" designed for barn swallows is also set up at the course.

Kings Links superintendent Mike Kiener says having bird boxes at the course is "phenomenal" and that it's "great for helping with mosquito control."

Although not a Delta Naturalists member, local woodworker and longtime birder Pete Blair builds the boxes and repairs them. He says the course is always supportive of the program. Blair says he usually visits the boxes at the course and some set up at Tsatsu Shores at least twice a year.

"We'd like a more information, a little more data to help us decide how successful the program is in terms of breeding and getting young to fledge," he says.

"But it's just very difficult to monitor that many boxes as frequently as would be needed to do that."

He says about 80 per cent of the boxes at the course were in use last year. "As far as I'm concerned, if they get tree swallows there, I'm happy."

Kings Links is also home to boxes designed for barn owls and bats.

There are approximately 100 boxes overall installed around Delta, including some at Boundary Bay Regional Park, as part of the program.

The Delta Naturalists Society's aims are to foster interest in the natural history of the Fraser delta, to share and enjoy nature, and to promote environmental awareness and conservation.

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