Student Engagement Grant Supports Project to Benefit Tree Swallows

ASUM members attach predator guards to tree swallow nest boxes. Photo by Lauren Jenny.
By Trenton Bauer, President, Audubon Society at UW-Madison

A Lakeshore Nature Preserve Student Engagement Grant provided financial support for the Audubon Society at UW-Madison (ASUM) to install five tree swallow nest boxes in the Picnic Point Marsh.

Referencing research from other institutions, the club developed plans for the construction and placement of the boxes, ultimately aiming to secure to the species’ ability to persist as a robust population despite the threats posed by climate change, urban sprawl, and non-native competitor species like house sparrows. ASUM installed the boxes on April 2, 2023, with a large portion of their membership helping in some way during installation. In less than a month, ASUM began receiving reports of tree swallow habitation in four out of the five boxes.

The project has relied on over a dozen ASUM members’ involvement at some stage, and it continues to depend on citizen science. ASUM plans to develop a long-term dataset based on reports from users of Picnic Point which may eventually be used to gain insight on brood success and predator deterrent effectiveness.

ASUM received a previous grant to fund the purchase of binoculars for their popular fall educational bird hike series, which attracted hundreds of students over the last two years.

To learn more about ASUM and it’s projects contact