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Title: Conservation Measures to Increase Breeding Success of Cliff Swallows (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota) in Massachusetts
Petrochelidon pyrrhonota (Cliff Swallow) is experiencing significant population declines in parts of its breeding range, particularly in northeastern North America. At 12 active Cliff Swallow colonies in western Massachusetts in 2019–2020, we examined the extent to which installation of artificial nests, providing of mud sources, and control of Passer domesticus (House Sparrow) affected colony size and reproductive success of Cliff Swallows. While there was a trend for colony size to increase at sites with artificial nests, there was not a significant size increase at these sites from 2019–2020. Cliff Swallow nesting success was significantly lower at colony sites where House Sparrows were present, compared to those at which they were absent. The number of nesting Cliff Swallows at 2 sites where mud sources were enhanced increased from 2019 to 2020. Efforts to control House Sparrows by shooting at 1 site were unsuccessful. Our study suggests that without effective control of House Sparrows, Cliff Swallows are likely to keep declining in Massachusetts, regardless of other management techniques used.
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Northeastern naturalist
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National Science Foundation
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