By Liz Purves (Manager, Ontario Aerial Insectivore Program, Bird Studies Canada) and Ally Manthorne (Coordinator, Maritimes Aerial Insectivore Program, Bird Studies Canada)
Chimney Swift Photo: Ron d’Entremont
Get ready, SwiftWatchers! The 2019 SwiftWatch season is rapidly approaching as Chimney Swifts make their long migration north from South America. Bird Studies Canada is thankful for the Citizen Scientists like you who participate in our SwiftWatch program, helping to fill critical information gaps through monitoring and stewardship of Chimney Swifts and their habitat.
Join Us and Count Swifts
Each year, volunteers identify and monitor chimneys being used by swifts between May and September. This information helps us track Chimney Swift populations in Canada and guides conservation efforts. Volunteers are especially needed to count swifts at roost chimneys on the designated National Roost Monitoring dates for 2019: May 22, May 26, May 30, and June 3.
If you would like more information or to sign up to monitor a chimney in Ontario or the Maritimes, please contact our SwiftWatch coordinators. To learn about swift counts and stewardship in other areas, contact the coordinators for Québec (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Manitoba (email@example.com).
Don’t forget – you can also send us your swift sightings from anywhere in Canada at any time of the year!
Help Swifts on Your Property
Do you have Chimney Swifts in your chimney, barn, or other structure? We’d love to hear from you! Landowners play a key role in conserving this species. For more information on hosting swifts, check out our resources or contact your regional coordinator to request a “Swift-friendly Property” sign to display on your property.
SwiftWatchers Get Results! THANK YOU!
As always, a sincere thank-you is due to the many volunteers, partners, and supporters who make SwiftWatch possible. As a result of your efforts, the SwiftWatch program has brought about many positive impacts for Chimney Swifts, including:
– Identification of hundreds of Chimney Swift nest and roost sites for monitoring and conservation;
– Stewardship and voluntary protection of dozens of nest and roost sites in the Maritimes and Ontario, including some roost sites hosting over 2000 swifts in a single night!
– Estimation of population trends in the 2018 COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Chimney Swift in Canada;
– Recommendations on survey protocols to detect nesting swifts and limit loss of nesting habitat;
– Increased overall awareness and appreciation for these important birds through dozens of public events, presentations, interviews, and more.
You can read about more valuable results for swifts in the 2018-19 volume of the Maritimes SwiftWatch newsletter and the 2018 Ontario SwiftWatch annual report.
In Ontario, SwiftWatch has been undertaken with financial support from the Government of Canada, Government of Ontario, and TD Friends of the Environment Foundation. In Atlantic Canada, SwiftWatch has been undertaken with financial support from Environment and Climate Change Canada, Nova Scotia Habitat Conservation Fund (Contributions from Hunters and Trappers), New Brunswick Wildlife Trust Fund, TD Friends of the Environment, and Graham and Susan Smith.