The government puts the piping plover on license plates, but will it help the plovers on our beaches?

Lindsay Lee
The Coast
May 4, 2021

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Love will soon be in the air—for barn swallows, that is. Courtship during the upcoming mating season will feature elegant aerial displays. Cobalt blue, cinnamon and chestnut-coloured, the barn swallow is a striking species. But it’s in flight that these birds go from interesting to incredible. Barn swallows are aerial acrobats, which have been recorded at speeds of up to 74 km/hour. They zip and zoom through the air, performing impressive manoeuvres to catch flying insects. Who knew that you could look so graceful while eating bugs all day?

Unfortunately, the barn swallow population has declined by approximately 76 percent in Canada over the past four decades. In Nova Scotia, the barn swallow is an endangered species. Biodiversity loss is a real and escalating threat. There are a staggering 2.9 billion fewer birds in North America today than there were in 1970.

Further avian decline will have a profound impact on entire ecosystems. Birds collect and disperse seeds, provide natural pest control, help to keep invasive species in check, assist in pollination and are an integral part of the food web. Sadly, biodiversity loss has become so severe that even once-common species are declining at unprecedented rates. From warblers to woodpeckers, willets to wrens, birds in Nova Scotia need our help.

To give bird populations a chance to recover, our province needs to preserve the ecosystems that sustain them. We have a great opportunity to do just that—by saving Owls Head Provincial Park.


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