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I love this time of year!  Sunshine, green trees and of course an abundance of wildlife returning and preparing for summer on Grouse Mountain.  A couple weeks ago I spotted the first Barn Swallow of the year - back from their long migration to South America.  Today there was a whole flock flying around the mountain scoping out good nesting locations.  The first to arrive get the best real estate!

This year we have decided to help out our Barn Swallows by providing them with additional nesting ledges (as seen in the photo below).  This helps them save energy during the nest building stage and gives them more time to concentrate on rearing healthy young!  Barn Swallow numbers have been declining in recent years due to habitat loss and migration difficulties so any help we can provide them goes a long way towards maintaining a healthy population. 

Also today, I wandered over to our hummingbird monitoring and garden area and saw at least four different female Rufous Hummingbirds buzzing around the feeders!  It is so great to welcome them back to the mountain as well. The Rufous hummingbird has one of the longest and most difficult migrations of any bird species when you compare their size to distanced traveled. They overwinter in central Mexico but come up each year to British Columbia and Alaska to breed.  Once again their numbers have been in decline due to food loss and development along their migratory route.  Our annual hummingbird monitoring will be starting soon!  Watch for more details.

I hope you can get up the mountain soon and see all of the emerging wildlife.  Our Sooty Grouse have been calling and our Douglas Squirrels have been chattering and all around are the signs that summer is just around the corner.  All the photos here were taken today!  Enjoy!