About last night

The final evening of official Chimney Swift monitoring passed off last evening in a blaze of breezy June sunshine. A new site, seventh time lucky, and some rather overloaded nesting chimneys are among the highlights of this blog.

As ever we start with a wee bit of catching up from the previous round of monitoring and some interesting observations from around Manitoba. Following failure to mention this in the previous email, we begin in Wolesley and Nicole at the Fleetwood. There appears to be a settled pair from monitoring details on the 5th and 12th at this location. Assiniboine School also had a fairly average 177 swifts enter the chimney for the evening. Excuse of the week goes to Christian in St James. He located a new chimney on a private house on his street – apparently he’s away monitoring birds too much during summer to notice swifts diving into chimneys two doors down! Admittedly he did leave before dawn the next morning for a week of grassland bird monitoring in southwestern Manitoba so maybe we should not be too harsh on him. Bob and Valerie had 8 entries to count and 4 exits at the New Silver Heights Apartment, a total of 4 in the chimney.

Over to Melita and Jessica sent in reports of a probable nesting pair at the Health Centre. Speaking of Melita, Ken managed to track 2 swifts into the Ag Building and then drew the bonus of finding another pair in a private property by the museum complete with wonky chimney.

On the 9th, John counted a pair at the McDermot site, Margaret and Millie had 2 in their Brandon site, Cam and Diann had 1 in the Lac du Bonnet Physiotherapy and Jessica again had 2 in Melita.

Move to the 10th and Ken and Jan counted 8 in in Dauphin, including exits. The numbers here appear to be fluctuating this year but the one consistent thing is that there appear to be entries and exits and possible extra birds in town. We await their news with great interest from now on. Gord and Janice visited Manitou on the 10th, spotting a pair of swifts which unfortunately did not enter the church chimney.

Persistence finally paid for Blaire in St Norbert on the 12th, 1 swift entered the church chimney after seemingly weeks of teasing. This was her SEVENTH monitoring attempt at chimneys in St Norbert before one popped in. Strangely, the additional birds present but unaccounted on previous nights did not make a show.

In La Broquerie it was David’s turn to be bemused by the actions of the local swifts. Previously he had consistent pairs in both church chimneys plus extra birds in other unknown roosts. These birds however did not show on the 5th leaving David to assume they had moved on. Instead they reappeared! David adds that


‘My’ 2 pairs were flying around close to the church and at 9.02 and 9.03 one pair went down the large chimney.  At 9.07 oneindividual went down the small chimney.  After that I could still see 2 and maybe 3 individuals still flying around, but not immediately around the church.  They were more above the area where I had spotted 2 possible chimneys so I guess I’ll have to do a bit more spotting.’


Mike and Michele had a simpler evening in Saint Francois Xavier with their pair bedding in for the night at the church. Gord in Portage also recorded a pair in the Red River College chimney. Frank and Jacquie also had entrances and exits at Otterburne, 5  swifts in total in the three chimneys with a spread of 2, 2 and 1 across the chimneys.

St James again had some crazy activity. Jane at the Moorgate counted 10 entries and 4 exits for a total of 6 and Bob and Valerie noted (somehow) 13 entrances and 8 exits giving a total of 5. The constant activity in these sites would suggest nesting pairs with helpers.

To Osborne Village and Patricia scored bonus of the night, detecting activity on a second invisible chimney on top of 424 River with an active breeding pair. There were also 2  entries on the visible chimney. Tim at the church had 2  swifts enter by 9:19 in the large chimney and nothing in the funky side chimney (photos will follow soon on this one – it’s rather unusual). Finally Marie-Eve completed the set with 3 entries at the Rosemount. That’s 9 active chimneys noted in this area in 2017.

Finally, Rob and Barb headed to La Salle and sent the following report:

‘We scored another new site! Arriving in La Salle at 8:12 PM, we saw 3 swifts, then 4, flying low over StHyacinthe Church and in the immediate area. Sightings were constant until the roosting hour then 3 swifts was the highest number we saw. By curfew we had a single entry followed by 2 swifts entering one after the other in the bigger, East Chimney. So the total roosting = 3 and one bird was unaccounted for.’

We will add more about the opportunities for the remainder of the season later this week but for now please accept our gratitude for all your hard work over this monitoring season. Any additional information will always be gratefully received.

– Tim and the MCSI team

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The Manitoba Chimney Swift Initiative (MCSI) aims to understand the causes behind the decline in Chimney Swift populations and help reverse the trend.