If you’ve been walking on the recently reopened paths at Swannanoa’s Owen Park, you may have noticed the new bird nest boxes that have been installed around the ponds, and wondered what they’re for. Well, here’s your answer:
Andrew Laughlin, an Environmental Studies professor at UNC Asheville, has installed the 20 nest boxes as part of a research project investigating the recent range expansion of tree swallows into western North Carolina. Tree swallows are migratory birds that breed across much of northern North America and Canada, spending winter months along the Gulf and southern Atlantic Coasts. They are declining in their northeast breeding grounds for unknown reasons, but appear to be shifting their eastern breeding range southwards into the Carolinas, Alabama, and Georgia. The tree swallow research project will help scientists understand many aspects of this range expansion, including demographics, timing of breeding, and range-wide movements of the iconic migratory bird.
So now you know!