LONDON, ONT. -- There is encouraging news for those hoping to save the nesting habitat for a massive colony of bank swallows at the Byron gravel pit.

The province’s Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks has responded to concerns raised by Brendon Samuels, a migratory bird researcher at Western University.

In his letter to Samuels, Jeff Yurek confirms that the species is at risk in Ontario under the Endangered Species Act.

The Byron gravel pit is slated for housing and greenspace development. Yurek told CTV News his ministry is working with the property owner to make sure the tiny birds and their habitat are protected.

“My ministry has commenced an investigation into the banks swallows to make sure the Species at Risk Act is being followed. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has also been called in considering it’s dealing with the aggregate side of the issue,” he says.