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Habitat Enhancement on the Trail

In 2020 we received some funding from Trans Canada Trail for wildlife habitat enhancement projects along the Path of the Paddle (POP) route. We decided to build and install a number of bluebird and duck nest boxes. This was a great opportunity to not only provide some nest boxes but also to promote the POP brand.

So I got busy in my workshop and after the sawdust had settled I had 12 Bluebird boxes and 8 Wood Duck/Golden Eye boxes. In reality the Bluebird boxes are most often used by Tree Swallows and perhaps Chickadees.

In the fall of 2020 we installed the boxes along the Animikii trail on Lake Superior and along the Arrow River Road between Highway 593 and North Fowl Lake. Sites were selected based on my experiences with past nest box projects. To ensure passersby would be aware of the purpose of the boxes and POPA’s involvement a small sign was placed on the front of all of the boxes.

So what did our feathered friends think of these new potential nest sites? In the fall of 2021 we inspected all of the boxes to determine if they had been used, by what species and if they were still in good condition (i.e. no vandalism, damage by predators). I’m happy to report that many of the bluebird boxes were used, successfully it appeared, primarily by Tree Swallows. No such luck with the duck boxes. There was some evidence that something had investigated the new homes but no nests were found. This is pretty typical in that it often takes a couple of years for birds to find and or become comfortable with a new nest box. We will continue to monitor and maintain the nest boxes.

Look for these nest boxes the next time you are paddling along the Lake Superior shoreline on the Animikii Trail or biking the Arrow River Road.

Gary Davies, POPA Board Vice-Chair


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