Swifts on the move!

Our Chimney Swift numbers are certainly on the decline, and the swifts seem to have left many of their accustomed nests and roosts. The roost sites at Dauphin and Carman have been deserted, and numbers were way down at the Selkirk ‘stack on Tuesday night. Some of the other sites — St. Adoplhe and some Winnipeg sites — seem to be deserted or have very low numbers indeed. In a number of locations, this decline has been evident for well over a week.

So, does your chimney still have any swifts? If you have any reports to submit, please send them my way.

I am working on an expanded web presence for the Chimney Swift project at www.mbchimneyswift.ca
You might want to check it out. 


Thanks for all your sighting reports!

Frank M

May you live in interesting times

Well, it’s certainly been an unusual season for the chimney swift monitoring program! Wet and cool weather in the early days, followed by dry conditions and heat in latter days (not to mention extremely low mosquito populations in some areas).

So far our reports suggest “normal” (possibly a bit lower than normal) numbers at roost sites –Carman, Dauphin, Selkirk– but we have erratic reports at some other sites, notably in Winnipeg and Saint Adoplhe.

In Saint Adoplhe, with its cluster of five well-monitored sites, there is clear evidence of nest failure and chimney abandonment. At some Winnipeg sites, –St. Johns Ravenscourt and 1181 Pembina for example– we had initially activity, but have seen no activity upon recent checks. Other sites seem to have normal occupancy.We’ve had numerous reports of chimney swift flyovers, but these reports don’t always seem to correlate with known nearby chimneys.

As the season winds down, please continue to observe your sites and submit reports, even you see no entries/ exits at identified sites.

Updated monitoring results for the 2011 season may be seen at
http://www.naturemanitoba.ca/birder/monitoring_data.pdf

Special thanks to those of you who braved the cold and rain for last Monday’s chimney watch in Saint Adolphe! (And I promise to dress more appropriately next time.)

Frank

Come on down!

Just a reminder about our chimney swift watching event for the evening of Monday, August 8!

There are two ways to participate:

1) Join us at 7:30 P.M. in the parking lot near Club Amical at 344 Main Street in St. Adolphe for a chance to observe chimney swifts at five local sites and take a look at our tower. There’s a map to the meeting point at http://bit.ly/ojeE9p

— or —

2) Choose your own site. Contact the project coordinator (204-798-6275 or at mbchimneyswift@gmail.com) for the location of a suitable chimney near you.

All participants in the event are eligible for door prizes, and there will be refreshments at the Saint Adolphe event.

Why not bring a lawn chair and join us!

Update

Monitoring data continues to arrive, and we have reports from 22 active sites in Winnipeg and 18 sites in other Manitoba locations. There is verified breeding success in some areas (most notably Saint Adolphe) and indirect evidence from many others.

The summary of results is on the Nature Manitoba web site at http://www.naturemanitoba.ca/birder/monitoring_data.pdf , and I’ll be updating this information as more data is received.

I have also added maps:
Active sites in Winnipeg
Active sites in Manitoba
Location of Winnipeg sites with ID numbers (for summary data)
Location of other sites with ID numbers

Join us for some chimney gazing!

We are planning a chimney swift watching extravaganza for the evening of Monday, August 8!

There are two ways to participate:

Join us at 7:30 P.M. in the parking lot near Club Amical  at 344 Main Street in St. Adolphe for a chance to observe chimney swifts at five local sites (and take a look at our tower). There’s a map at http://bit.ly/ojeE9p

or contact  the project coordinator (204-798-6275 or at mbchimneyswift@gmail.com) for the location of a suitable chimney near you.

All participants are eligible for door prizes and there will be refreshments at the Saint Adolphe event. Bring a lawn chair and join us!

So, in the closing words of a venerable 1950’s sci-fi movie, “Watch the Skies!”

Frank M.

What’s New?

I’m busy with the compilation of reports for our provincial and federal grant providers (and I’ll post the results ASAP), but I have prepared some preliminary information based on monitoring reports received.

There’s a summary of chimney sites and monitoring results at
http://www.naturemanitoba.ca/birder/monitoring_data.pdf

For a map of monitored sites in Winnipeg, check out
http://batchgeo.com/map/0eb1af1d6830e59c3e007364f40bd33f

and for a map of Manitoba sites with reported chimney swifts in 2011, look at
http://batchgeo.com/map/3dae6b0da360e17a8fbcf1189d69b735

There are links to all of these URLs on the Chimney Swift page on the Nature Manitoba website (http://www.naturemanitoba.ca/CHSW.html ).

All of the above are “works in progress” and I’ll update/correct them as we go along.

For all of you who have sent in reports, thanks.

If any of you see swifts in your travels, please pass along the details of your sightings.

Frank Machovec

Update

News about the MCSI project:
We have just received official notification that our federal Eco-Action funding will be extended until September 2011 to allow us to complete this chimney swift monitoring season. The steering committee will discuss options for future funding at their next meeting.

Our interpretive signs have been installed at the Windsor Park, Saint Adolphe, and Portage la Prairie towers.

News about swift monitoring:
With the advent of warmer weather, more chimney swift reports have been coming in from around the province.

Large numbers of swifts have been reported at roosting sites in Carman, Selkirk, and Dauphin.

There have recently been a number of daytime sighting reports from Winnipeg. This includes a report of a large flock seen over Fort Whyte.

Saint Adolphe continues to show us why it’s the the chimney swift capital of Manitoba.

Selkirk and Portage la Prairie have seen witnessed the return of swifts.

Especially at some “known” Winnipeg sites, we’ve had late arrivals and some days in which swifts seem to be absent from chimneys that they occupied only days before.

So, keep those reports coming in!

If you’d like a chimney to stare at, get in touch!

Frank M

Renovations at Swift Tower


On Thursday night, a rain shield/roof was added to the chimney swift nesting tower in Saint Adolphe. The new structure, with a weather-proofed chimney and roof, was designed by Rob Stewart. The installation was executed by the Stewarts, and was overseen by several chimney swifts. We sincerely hope that the swifts were investigating a potential new nest site!

In other news, temperature probes were deployed in the Saint Adolphe tower and a nearby residence. Data from the probes will add to our understanding of conditions inside different types of chimneys.

Reports continue to come in regarding chimney swift sightings. So far, likely due to the poor weather conditions, numbers seem to be down, but sightings have been reported from Carman, Selkirk, Portage, Brandon, Saint Adolphe, Dauphin, and Winnipeg.

So keep those reports coming in and let’s hope that swift observations increase as temperatures warm up.

Frank M

Announcing a new report

The Manitoba Chimney Swift Initiative has just posted a new report by Ken Wainwright about the intricacies of using a game trail camera to monitor chimney swift activity. The detailed report is based on sightings at a Dauphin roost site.

Click here to view “Monitoring of a chimney swift (Chaetura pelagica) roost site in Dauphin, Manitoba, utilizing a Reconyx game trail camera.” PDF format.

Frank M