About the MCSI

The Chimney Swift, a small brown bird living in the sooty environs of your neighbourhood chimneys, can induce a great passion in people and communities. Across Canada, hundreds of volunteers spend countless hours watching the skies as these birds, often described as looking like a cigar with wings, weave around catching insects, before taking the plunge into the dark recess of their seasonal home. Unfortunately, the Chimney Swift has declined by a large amount in Canada since the 1960’s and they are now listed under both the Manitoban and Federal Government Species at Risk Acts.
Swifts trio flying
Swifts trio flying

In 2006 members of the Manitoba Naturalists Society (now Nature Manitoba) formed the Manitoba Chimney Swift Initiative (MCSI) with membership and funding from the private sector and the three levels of government. The aim was to do something tangible for the swifts; the objective was to determine the distribution of the population and then design, locate and build new habitat. The current Steering Committee membership of MCSI includes Nature Manitoba, Bird Studies Canada, Manitoba Sustainable Development, Environment and Climate Change Canada and independent researchers and experts, all committed to conserving these special birds.

Since these early days, the initiative has evolved and our objectives can be classified as:

  • Monitoring roosting and breeding Chimney Swifts;
  • Stewardship initiatives, including the restoration of existing habitat and building of new habitats;
  • Outreach with schools and communities, championing Manitoba’s Chimney Swift conservationists and giving public presentations.

MCSI is a volunteer-led initiative and we are always looking for new volunteers to assist with any of the activities above. Please see our volunteer pages to find out what you can do to help Chimney Swifts in Manitoba.

The Manitoba Chimney Swift Initiative is supported by the Government of Canada’s Habitat Stewardship Program (HSP) and from the Winnipeg Foundation. In previous years, the Manitoba Chimney Swift Initiative has received grants from the Manitoba Conservation Endangered Species and Biodiversity Fund and from their Sustainable Development Innovations Fund (SDIF) and from Environment Canada’s EcoAction Community Funding program and Environmental Damages Fund. The project has also received support from Manitoba Hydro, the Lady Gray’l Fund, the James L. Baillie Memorial Fund from Bird Studies Canada. and other sources.

Volunteers at the St. Adolphe tower

The MSCI has erected swift towers in Starbuck, St. Adolphe, Portage la Prairie, and Winnipeg. Click here for a map of tower locations. In addition to watching these sites, we continue to identify and monitor roosting and nest sites around the province.

Nature Manitoba is pleased to be involved in this project to better understand the causes behind Chimney Swift population declines and hopefully reverse this trend.

Contact us

Our MCSI Habitat Stewardship and Outreach Coordinator, Tim Poole, may be contacted at mcsi.outreach@gmail.com

General inquiries should be directed to mbchimneyswift@gmail.com