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Volunteer opportunity

The Black Swift is Endangered in Canada. To work towards its conservation, more information is needed about this species’ breeding requirements and reasons for its decline. The goals of the Black Swift project are:

  • To fill important knowledge gaps associated with Black Swift across BC by collecting occupancy, breeding and habitat data, and monitoring active nests
  • To assess the threat posed to Black Swifts by climate change and human-related disturbance (e.g., increase in outdoor tourism, and backcountry recreational activities) at nesting sites
  • To raise awareness of this Species at Risk and promote its conservation at breeding locations

Survey volunteers will hike to specific waterfalls to collect data on Black Swifts and their nests (if present), and on the site habitat and threats. A minimum of three visits will be conducted at each site during the breeding season, and possibly more if survey sites are occupied by Black Swifts, to search for and monitor nests. The survey will take place from Mid-June to early September.

In 2022, surveys will be focused on accessible waterfalls and canyons in southwest British Columbia, primarily in: Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Pacific Range, North Shore Mountains and intervening valleys.

Black Swift on the nest Photo: Carter Strope

Is it for me?

We are looking for fit and skilled volunteers who are ideally experienced at birding and scientific outreach. Volunteers should be able to:

  • hike with little light, at dawn, sometimes on steep/rough terrain, and carrying gear
  • confidently identify the different species of aerial insectivores (swifts, swallows, nightjars) in BC
  • engage with the public, other hikers, and/or stakeholders
  • be available at least a couple of days over the summer, if possible scattered throughout the breeding season (minimum of 3 repeat surveys). If survey sites are occupied, volunteers will visit them several times during the breeding season to collect breeding data.

Birds Canada will provide GPS/SPOT devices (and possibly other specific measuring devices) to volunteers for safety, especially in areas that are more difficult to access. Volunteers will be responsible for providing the other gear they need for hiking and birding (headlamp, compass, binoculars, etc.).

Training workshops for volunteers will be provided at the end of May and early June.

Learn more and get involved:

Please contact Dr. Rémi Torrenta:

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