A research team from the University of Saskatchewan is asking land owners in the area to help them out with locating barn swallows and little brown bats for them to study.
"We have seven areas of interest around the province, including southeast Saskatchewan, so we're looking to get in contact with land owners who know that they have barn swallows, or even if they have old, abandoned barns on their property," shared Brynna Spence, B.Sc.Bio. "Then what we'll do is we'll come out and look for barn swallow nests, and then we can capture the barn swallows with nets and then, all we do is we put a band on their leg, and then take some blood, and some measurements of their body condition, and then we set them free again."
She said the reason for this is due to the steep decline in the populations of these particular creatures.
"In North America, the barn swallows and bats are have been in steep decline in their populations, so we just kind of want to get a sense of what is causing the decline, and where the decline in Saskatchewan is focused, and where they're declining most in these seven areas."
She said these are just two of many aerial insectivores for which they've been seeing a population decline. These species depend on insect food gathered during the day and night.
"There are a lot of combined threats, habitat change, climate change, pesticide use, and certain diseases have all been known to cause declines in aerial insectivores," she noted.
Spence said the goal of the project is to get a sense of where the populations are at, and then to form a goal to help. This begins by getting into contact with land owners in the region, to see if there's anything that they can do to try and help their populations of barn, swallows and bats on their property.
To encourage populations of barn swallows and little brown bats, she said you can ensure you have wetlands and other places they like to make their home.
"They love a wetland, so wet lands in the area, and leaving old barns and old structures up so that they can build nests and form habitats, those are both great things that land owners can do to help increase their barn swallow or bat population."
Spence noted these two species, in particular, "do great things for the environment, and they're really vital to their ecosystem."
Contact Spence via e-mail at email@example.com, or via call or text to 306-861-8858 to let her know where your property is and they can see if it's applicable to their area of study.
Insect collection will also be taking place along field edges within 500 meters of the structure and nest boxes.
The study began in June and will run until August, across seven diverse regions of Saskatchewan. The information gathered is critical to understanding how these creatures are doing and what is threatening their populations.