Save London, Ontario's bank swallows
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London’s largest colony of bank swallows is at risk
ADDENDUM - May 8, 2021
Thank you to supporters of this petition to Save London's Bank Swallows. Through conversations with the City of London, as well as provincial and federal authorities on protections for the Bank Swallow and their habitat, the authors of this petition have learned that the fate of the Byron gravel pit Bank Swallow colony will be decided by the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks via enforcement of the Endangered Species Act, as well as the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, via enforcement of the Aggregate Resources Act (ARA). We have identified an apparent conflict between these two pieces of legislation, and are seeking clarification from these authorities about its implications for the Byron gravel pit colony. The City of London has informed us that development of the Byron gravel pit site will not begin for several years. Meanwhile, the site is being rehabilitated per ministry requirements under the ARA. The petition was delivered to Hon. Jeff Yurek (MECP) and Hon. John Yakabuski (MNRF) on May 8th 2021 in honour of World Migratory Bird Day. You may read our letter to the ministers here. Please follow our Facebook page at facebook.com/savelondonsbankswallows for future status updates about the Byron gravel pit Bank Swallows.
The Byron gravel pit located in London is home to one of Ontario’s largest breeding colonies of bank swallows, a protected bird Species at Risk that has declined in Ontario by 93% in the past 50 years due to human activities. Despite the protected status of the swallows that live there, the Byron gravel pit site is being developed under private ownership into housing complexes and an outdoor recreation area. We are aware that construction at the site has already begun and large machines continue to operate within the immediate vicinity of active swallow nests (as of June 16, 2020) in direct contravention of the federal government’s guidelines to reduce risk for migratory birds under Canada’s Migratory Bird Convention Act. We are appealing for community support to request that the developer, Incon Industrial Corporation, immediately ceases active work in the vicinity of the cliff where the swallows are nesting and preserves the portion of the site used by the colony so that bank swallows may continue to return to the site to breed in future years. Taking action to protect bird Species at Risk and their habitat can help London to be a Bird-Friendly City!
Please read more about this issue by visiting the dedicated Facebook page.
Visit this link to view the colony in its entirety. The colony size is estimated at 1913 individuals.
We, the undersigned, are requesting immediate action to prevent harm to a large nesting colony of bank swallows based in the Byron gravel pit in London, Ontario.
We, the undersigned
- Urge the owner, Incon Industrial Corporation, to immediately pause construction work at the site within 500 m of active bank swallow nests (Category 3 habitat as defined by Ontario’s General Habitat Description for Bank Swallows) and per the Migratory Bird Convention Act. At minimum, we ask that construction be paused until July 15 2020, when most of the young will have left the nest. Delaying construction by just a few weeks will allow the colony to successfully complete this year’s breeding.
- Urge the owner, Incon Industrial Corporation, and the City of London to undertake a review of the existing secondary plan for the Byron gravel pits in light of new information about the bank swallow colony that was previously underestimated in size by a factor of at least ten. We ask that both parties immediately enter into negotiations with the intent of preserving the portion of the site used by the colony of bank swallows so that these birds may continue to return to the site to breed in future years.
- That the above review includes consultation with experts, including government and nongovernment sources, on bank swallows and their habitat as a Species at Risk in Ontario.
- Urge the City of London to incorporate protection of the Byron pit Bank Swallow colony and the habitat of other species at risk into the City’s plans for becoming a Bird-Friendly City.
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