The colony nests in an abandoned stable on the refuge, and the group called Save Our Swallows says it is threatened with demolition by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
According to the state ornithologist, The Fort River Division of the Silvio O. Conte National Wildlife Refuge in Hadley is home to what is likely the largest colony of Barn Swallows in the state.
Fish and Wildlife said they plan to have an environmental assessment before demolition takes place, however, members of Save our Swallows, a local barn swallows advocacy group, have said demolition has already begun.
Barn Swallow populations have had a 50 percent decline throughout the country since the 1980s. Save our Swallows volunteer Devin Griffiths told 22News how local residents are working with Fish and Wildlife to protect their local birds.
“The reason that is significant is that those numbers are not sustainable,” said Griffiths. “If we save this colony we might actually prevent some of the population declines that would drive them to be listed.”
Volunteers from Save our Swallows have offered to pay for the restoration and maintenance of the barn. Residents have also said they will continue to work with Fish and Wildlife to figure out a solution for the Barn Swallows.
22News has left messages to Fish and Wildlife and we have yet to hear back from them due to the government shutdown.