Nest and Habitat Box Update
In the spring of 2022, Aldershot High School students built nest and habitat boxes and donated them to HCA. The majority of these went to Valens Lake, and the rest going to Christie Lake.
From staff observations, all of the bird boxes were successful! It took a little longer for the new boxes to become occupied, but once the birds found them, they were quite happy. The boxes are close to the lake so there is a lot of food available for the birds, even early in the season, so the birds seem happy to take up residence.
The main species that use the boxes at Valens Lake are Tree Swallows, Blue Birds, House Wrens, and the odd Chickadee if we’re lucky. Since Valens Lake began installing bird boxes a few years ago, staff have observed a noticeable difference in the amount of Tree Swallows flying around, as well as a good amount of Blue Birds hanging around for most of the year.
Assistant Superintendent at Valens Lake, Evan McKnight said, “Tree Swallows are probably my favourite bird now because of doing this monitoring. It has given me a great appreciation for what they do, and their amazing flying skills; they are so agile! They will also swoop down at your head when you are checking their nesting boxes, which is kind of cool.”
Valens Lake has seen almost all of their bird boxes being used for nesting. Each year, staff see about four successful hatchlings per box, which totals approximately 180 birds a year, helping contribute to bird populations in the area.
Turtle Nest Protectors
Staff on site also reported lower road mortality than previous years, which they attribute to two reasons: 1) the turtles hatched on rainy weekdays when there was less traffic in the area; and 2) Valens Lake added a line of gravel between the road and the lake where turtles chose to nest instead of high traffic areas. Turtles were spotted nesting here, and staff plan to extend this area to provide more habitat.
This was a very successful year and staff are hoping to get more protectors to put out this year.
Due to timing constraints we weren’t able to get the bat boxes put up in time for their season, but are hoping to get them up this winter.