Living with Us… Bank Swallow – Riparia riparia

Bank Swallow are small insect-eating birds that live in sand/gravel pits, and the shorelines of large rivers and lakes all over Ontario. They dig out small burrows in steep silt/sand embankments to raise their young and nest in colonies of hundreds to thousands of breeding pairs. They stand out from other swallows by their irregular wing beats and constant chattering vocalizations (noises).

Did you know that Bank Swallow are listed as a ‘species at risk’ with a status of ‘threatened’, meaning they are likely to become endangered if recovery efforts are not made?  There are numerous threats faced by Bank Swallows, mostly related to habitat loss and the use of pesticides that kill the insects that they eat.  There is a significant gap in the scientific data on Bank Swallow distribution in the Matawa homelands.  Four Rivers is working with many of the Matawa member First Nations on their environmental monitoring programs to find and document Bank Swallows and their habitats, to assist in their protection.  If you have seen Bank Swallows or their habitat and wish to contribute to your community’s conservation efforts, please contact Four Rivers at [email protected].


Bank Swallows

Photo provided by Canadian Wildlife Service, ECCC (photographer: Zoe Lebrun-Southcott)