Title

Nesting Habitat Characteristics of Bank Swallows and Belted Kingfishers on the Connecticut River

Publication Date

2009

Journal or Book Title

NORTHEASTERN NATURALIST

Abstract

Ceryle alcyon (Belted Kingfisher) and Riparia riparia (Bank Swallow) rely on vertical eroded banks for nesting. We inventoried Belted Kingfisher and Bank Swallow nesting banks along a 91.6-km section of the Connecticut River in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont, including stretches where bank stabilization projects are completed, under construction, or planned. In the case of Bank Swallows, we also assessed the availability of potential nesting habitat in the study area. Forty-four Belted Kingfisher nesting sites and 12 Bank Swallow colonies were detected in the study area. Both species used banks with a low percentage of vegetative cover and a steep slope. Belted Kingfishers used high narrow banks. Bank Swallows used wide banks composed of well-drained, fine sandy loam soils. Potential Bank Swallow nesting sites were limited and in comparison to the sites actually used by Bank Swallows, they were narrower, more vegetated, and composed of more coarse soils. The impact of bank stabilization on Belted Kingfishers is probably minimal. However, bank stabilization eliminated three of twelve Bank Swallow colony sites that served as habitat for ≈20% of nesting pairs in the study area between 1999 and 2005.

DOI

10.1656/045.016.n403

Volume

16

Issue

4

Pages

519-534

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