As swifts continue to head our way for the spring and summer months, now is as great a time as ever to get involved and do your part in monitoring this beautiful bird. In conjunction with SwiftWatch, Bird Studies Canada is organizing what is known as the National Population Roost Monitoring Blitz.
In this blitz, participants are asked to identify and safely monitor known roosting sights of chimney swifts for four evenings in May and June. The dates participants will need to mark on their calendars for monitoring are May 25th, May 29th, June 2nds and June 6th of this year.
Supported by Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, and TD Friends of the Environment Foundation here in Ontario, SwiftWatch is Canada’s leading citizen science monitoring and conservations program. Through this program, community groups come together and proudly act as stewards for chimney swifts, protecting their habitat.
How to Help
Monitoring Chimney Swifts
As birders, nothing is much better than watching our favourite bird species. The opportunity to help these birds and protect their habitat is something many of us long for. As part of the SwiftWatch program, volunteers perform the necessary research to locate and identify nest and roost sites and then are asked to contribute four monitoring sessions.
The program runs from the province of Manitoba and eastward heading through Ontario, Quebec and the Canadian Maritime provinces. Each roost monitoring effort is managed by a coordinator and Bird Studies Canada provides participants with handy data sheets and survey guides on the SwiftWatch website.
Steward Chimney Swifts
Taking it a step further is leading a life with chimney swifts in mind. One of the leading causes of their population decline is lost habitat as more buildings are being modernized and chimneys undergoing changes such as capping, steel lining or removal.
As swift stewards, we are mindful of our chimneys and are careful to only have them cleaned between October and March, protecting any swifts who could be at risk at vital nesting or breeding times of the year. Woodlot owners are also encouraged to create and maintain more natural habitat suitable for chimney swifts, as these birds originally took to natural crevices in trees and snags to build their nests.