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Glen Valley Project

At the east side of the municipality you will find the Glen valley. This 80 acre prairie is by far the largest of a handful of remaining open fields that once dominated the municipality as farmland. The Dalesville river runs down the middle of the valley providing an additional interesting variety of ecosystems, nesting sites and food sources for birds. Historically, the valley has been the ideal habitat for an assortment of birds throughout the year. Spring and fall see flocks of Canada geese and other waterfowl resting during their travels. Winter birds such as blue jays, chickadees, grosbeaks and finches flutter through the forests surrounding the valley in the colder months. And summertime has always seen a wide variety of birds including red-wing blackbirds, kingfishers, killdeer, sparrows, bluebirds and swallows. Unfortunately, bird populations have been drastically dropping across the country, with some estimating that the population of grassland birds have dropped as much as 57% since 1970.




In the Glen valley, this is most evident in the lose of bank swallows. Aerial Insectivores as a group are experiencing steep population declines across North America. In Canada, the Bank Swallow has declined by 98% over the past 40 years, triggering a federal “Threatened” listing in 2017 under Canada’s Species at Risk Act. From a thriving local population in the hundreds, there are almost none left here today. It was once a common sight to see the power lines in the valley loaded with perching birds from pole to pole. However, amongst other factors, changes to their habitat naturally led them to search for other nesting sites. Bank swallows commonly nest in colonies and search for steep banks in naturally compact sand, normally found along river banks, or in this case, old sand pits. The sand pit that was a dominate part of the valley in the past has since disappeared and with it the birds.



One of the three principal objectives of WILD is the protection and possible restauration of habitats. Last summer, we proposed our restauration project to the Manitou Club, the current owner of the majority of the Glen valley, and they very generously agreed to allow us access and use of their land for our project. After scouting the land with Martin Picard, director general of Developpement ornithologique Argenteuil (DOA), he determined that we were an ideal candidate for a pilot project to reestablish a colony of bank swallows. Martin has done extensive research on similar projects and has designed nesting boxes that take the best elements from other projects that have proven to work. As you can see from the diagram below, each nesting box has 28 tunnels with an interior space for a nest. We plan to place 5 boxes for a total of 50 feet of artificial escarpment and space for 140 couples.





Last fall, installation of the boxes began and you can see from the picture below that the remains of the old sand pit make for the perfect environment for our swallows. The nests will be locate conveniently close to the Glen road and part of the project will include an observation site. This location is listed in ' Guide des site d'observation d'oiseaux d'Argenteuil' and to help facilitate bird watchers, we will be constructing a small parking spot and installing information panels this spring.



The swallow project is just the first part of a larger restauration project in the valley. To encourage the return of bluebirds, an additional 15 nesting boxes were also installed in October (see the location below). Martin is confident that the valley could easily accommodate several times this number of boxes and plans are also in the works for planting native wildflowers, attracting other bird species and placing bee hives. The next few years will be very exciting project and the ecosystem it will help conserve!



The first phase of our project will require a total investment of over $25,000 and we will be announcing the financial support of several partners in the coming days. We would like to once again thank our partners: the Manitou Club and DOA for their work on the project and you can look forward to updates here on the hopeful return of these birds to our community. We encourage you to do some bird watching this spring and you can look forward to an organised presentation of the site this summer.









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22 sept 2023
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❤️seeing all the birds!

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13 ago 2023
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❤️

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10 mar 2023
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Wow!!!😍

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