The latest in our series highlighting Manitoba’s Swift Champions recognises the contributions of St Ann’s Roman Catholic Church on Hampton Street, St James, Winnipeg. The church has two chimneys, both of which were used by Chimney Swifts in 2015.
Monitoring does sometimes give volunteers the opportunity to speak with building owners and local people about the importance of each chimney for swifts. It was during one of the evenings of the National Chimney Swift Monitoring Program that a chance meeting between volunteer Christian Artuso and the parish priest set off a chain reaction, culminating in the repair of one of the chimneys and the church becoming part of the Swift Champions program. That evening, Christian discovered that the northern chimney was due for demolition due to a combination of lack of use and erosion or the mortar holding the bricks together. Understandably, the Manitoba Chimney Swift Initiative were keen to conserve this important breeding site and with the help of Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship Wildlife and Fisheries Branch, spoke to the church and stopped the demolition. The chimney was still a public hazard and so with funding from Environment Canada’s Habitat Stewardship Program, we were able to repair the it.
It was during the 2015 breeding season that we discovered that a second chimney, previously assumed to be capped was discovered to be very much active. During a site visit in August, we were excited to spot adult swifts entering and exiting this second chimney at around 10am, confirming that they were feeding a brood of chicks. We also suspected but did not confirm that the original chimney was an active nest site.
Tim Poole presented the plaque to Deacon Richard Ludwick who worked with us to repair the chimney prior to Saturday Mass. As ever, MCSI are delighted to work with our Champions to promote the cause of Chimney Swift conservation here in Manitoba.
To find out more about the Swift Champion Program, see http://www.mbchimneyswift.ca/champion.html