A seasonal reminder

If you’re looking out your window or indulging in some outdoor activity, you nay need a reminder that June is almost here. The calendar indeed confirms that  it is the end of May and June will show be upon us…

We continue to receive reports of swift sightings from  “old faithful” sites in Saint Adolphe, Selkirk, Dauphin, La Broquerie, Portage, Brandon, Carman. and Winnipeg.

It’s early in the season, but it seems that Winnipeg counts are down from last year– perhaps the swifts aren’t quite ready for the ‘Peg.  On the other hand,the Dauphin roost site is very attractive with an amazing recent count of 87+ chimney swifts !

We also received a casual report of a pair of swifts in Neepawa.

The summary page for observations may be seen here (as a Google Doc). This page will be updated with maximum counts of swifts as I receive official monitoring reports from sites.

As the season progresses, we could use additional monitors for various sites. The need is especially great in the Winnipeg area. You don’t need to make a long-term time commitment, but we certainly could use you! For more information about potential sites, please call 204-978-6275 or email mbchimneyswift@gmail.com

Don’t forget our chimney-swift viewing on Monday, June 4 from 8 PM at the side of the St. Adolphe Parish Church at 392 Main Street in St. Adolphe. Bring a chair and your binos, and prepare to be amazed!  Find out why St. Adolphe is the Chimney Swift Capital of Manitoba (and maybe go home with a door prize)!.

Victoria Day Update

Queen Victoria was reputedly not referring to Chimney Swift monitoring when she famously noted, “A strange, horrible business, but I suppose good enough for Shakespeare’s day.”

It looks like Saint Adolphe remains the Chimney Swift Capital of Manitoba with up to five chimneys active. For those who like sheer numbers, however, you just can’t beat the Dauphin site with 31 swifts on Saturday night!

We have preliminary reports of sightings at known sites in Brandon, La Broquerie, Portage la Prairie, Selkirk, and Winnipeg. If early monitoring results in Winnipeg are any indication, the swifts have not yet returned to some of their old haunts.

As the official reports come in, I’ll be updating the numbers on the  summary spreadsheet. You can check the summary (as a Google document). If you want the current overall report in Excel format, please send me an email.

Now would be a good time to check “your” chimney so that we can verify occupancy of known sites. Don’t forget to let us know what you see! Forms and resources are available at the website.

If you would like to volunteer to check a chimney site, please get in touch by phone (204-798-6275) or email

As always, I’d like to thank our many existing volunteers! 

Don’t forget our chimney-gazing extravaganza on Monday, June 4 from 8 PM at the rear of the St. Adolphe Parish Church at 392 Main Street in St. Adolphe. Bring a chair and your binos, and prepare to be amazed! Door prizes are an added inducement (as if you needed more incentive)…

That Was The Week That Was

Thursday, May 10 was a big day for Chimney Swift watchers here in Manitoba! On that day initial sighting reports were received from Selkirk, Portage la Prairie, Saint Adolphe, and the University of Manitoba campus.

Some monitoring of sites was done earlier in the week, but Thursday was the first productive day.

Subsequent reports have observed Chimney Swifts in chimneys in Saint Boniface, Saint Adolphe, La Broquerie, and Dauphin. Hopefully, your reports from other locations will be pouring in soon!

A Tree Grows near La Broquerie
An enthusiastic volunteer has erected “an artificial tree” on his property in the La Broquerie area. The structure is constructed of wood, is twelve feet long, and is elevated about twelve feet above ground. The picture to the right shows the tower before its installation.

Time will tell if Chimney Swifts will use this unique structure.

Volunteers wanted!
I am looking for volunteers to monitor known chimney sites so that Jacquie and I can check out some “new” sites in the colourful core area of Winnipeg. Sites are available in various locations and the time commitment is flexible.

If you’ve always wanted a chimney to call your own, why not give me a call at 798-6275 or via email at mbchimneyswift@gmail.com.

Special Event–June 4
Don’t forget our chimney-gazing event on Tuesday, June 4 at Saint Adolphe, the Chimney Swift Capital of Manitoba. Drop by after 8 PM and bring a chair and some binoculars, You can view five active chimneys and inspect one of our artificial chimneys.  There will be door prizes for visitors. Meet at the parking lot by the Catholic Church at 392 Main Street in Saint Adolphe.

They’re here!

The Chimney Swift Initiative has received its first two reports of chimney swifts for 2012.
Six swifts were reported near the Selkirk Mental Health Centre at 8:25 this morning.
Four chimney swifts were seen over Saint Adolphe at 12:25.

Monitors have checked sites in Winnipeg, St, Adolphe, and Carman on previous nights, but no birds were seen before today.

Frank M.

Look up — look way up!

Perhaps the Friendly Giant was reminding us about the need to look way up to see the circling swifts!

The Manitoba Chimney Swift Initiative (MCSI) urges you to look up and help locate and monitor nesting and roosting sites in Manitoba during the coming season (May-September).

Volunteers are needed throughout the province, and they may choose a level of involvement based on their interest and availability:

  1. Hard core – Volunteers who will commit to monitoring a chimney for at least one hour every week throughout the summer in order to collect high quality data on breeding behaviour and breeding success.
  2. Nesters and roosters – Volunteers to monitor known roost or nest sites on at least six occasions during the roost hour (half hour before and after sunset).
  3. Rovers or dabblers – Volunteers who would like to help out on an occasional basis.  These volunteers will be used as substitutes when “hard core” volunteers are unavailable or for monitoring at suspected sites.

For all of the atlassers out there, please report any chimney swift sightings, especially from rural areas. Remember to include date, time, location, and number of birds.

So far, our project has identified active sites in Brandon, Carman, Dauphin. La Broquerie, Portage la Prairie, Selkirk, and Winnipeg.

There are historical reports of sightings in the following locations, and we would value current reports from those areas:: Altona, Balmoral, Bissett, Delta Marsh, East St. Paul, Falcon Lake, Gimli, Mafeking, Morden, Oak Hammock Marsh, Pinawa, Souris, St. Ambroise, Stonewall, Teulon, Victoria Beach, Waugh.

Last year, we received informal reports of sightings in the following locations, and we would welcome details about any new sightings in Shilo, Souris, The Pas, and Wasagaming.

This year we will complete another season of nest/roost monitoring using volunteers, and we will continue to monitor our five artificial nest structures. Other plans include a media outreach campaign to improve public awareness of swifts, encourage new volunteers, and help identify new nest/roost sites or other places visited by swifts.

Many references and forms for volunteers are available on the resources page of our website. Please take a look! There’s even a dashboard placard to identify you as a volunteer!

If you have any questions or concerns, please get in touch!

Thanks for your interest and support!

Frank Machovec
Project Coordinator, Manitoba Chimney Swift Initiative
mbchimneyswift@gmail.com – 204-798-6275

Coming soon to a chimney near you

Spring has (apparently) sprung…

Well, it won’t be long until the Chimney Swifts return to sunny Manitoba. Based on past arrivals, we should expect them  in early- to mid- May. Once the swifts join us, we are looking for volunteers to check known sites or identify new ones.

Since 2007 our project has monitored swift activity in Brandon, Carman,  Dauphin,  La Broquerie, Portage la Prairie, Saint Adolphe, Selkirk and Winnipeg. Historical records and anecdotal reports suggest that there should be many more locations to be identified.

There are a number of potential roles for volunteers depending on your location and interests. If you would like to learn more about our project, please email mbchimneyswift@gmail.com or call Frank at 204-798-6275.

Mark your calendars
for our Chimney Watch at Saint Adolphe on the evening of June 4. Bring a chair and a pair of binoculars and prepare for some chimney-gazing at the Chimney Swift Capital of Manitoba. Meet at the parking lot near the Club Amical (344 Main Street in Saint Adolphe) at 8:00 PM. There should be swifts and the chance to win a rare Chimney Swift mug!

For more information and resources about Chimney Swifts and the Manitoba Chimney Swift Initiative, check our website at www.mbchimneyswift.ca or watch this blog!

Frank Machovec


We have filed final reports with our provincial and federal grant providers, If you would like to see the reports, follow the following links: Sustainable Development Innovations Fund and Eco-Action fund.

The steering committee has met recently and is planning for the continuation of the program in 2012. We are looking for new financial sponsors, and we are following the deliberations of the Species at Risk group so that future activities will complement the species recovery strategy.

In 2012 we would like to attract more volunteers and expand our inventory of known chimney swift  site sites throughout the province. We will continue to collect and share the valuable monitoring reports from our many volunteers at nest and roost sites, and investigate means of making it easier to submit reports.

Once our plans are finalized, I’ll report back to you..

So, enjoy the snowy season and keep those neck muscles toned up for spring chimney-gazing!

Thanks for your support!

Frank Machovec
project coordinator

The close of the season

I just received a number of monitoring reports from the past saeason, and I have posted the results at http://www.mbchimneyswift.ca/Documents/monitoring_data.pdf

A summary of this year’s  chimney swift activity at Saint Adolphe is available at

I am working on the final reports for our SDIF and Eco-Action grant providers, and these reports will be posted as soon as possible.

I would like to thank all of those who reported sightings or monitored chimney swift sites during this unusual season!


A riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma

While most chimney watchers have reported their swifts as long gone, on Tuesday our Selkirk monitoring crew observed a total of eight swifts entering two of their chimneys!

If you have any current sightings, or if have some earlier reports to share, please let me know.

There are still some reports to come in, but this season we have monitored 47 sites, 29 of them in Winnipeg. 34 of the sites had fewer than four swifts at peak occupancy, six sites  had over four occupants, and seven sites had no reported occupants. Of those chimneys with swifts, several only had one reported bird or had very erratic occupancy. Once again, the highest chimney occupancy was in the Dauphin roost with a maximum of 67 and second place was a Selkirk smokestack with 48.

The seasonal summary may be viewed on our web site at  http://www.mbchimneyswift.ca/Documents/monitoring_data.pdf

Recently, we got some publicity in Steinbach’s The Carillon newspaper for our recent (and damp) Saint Adolphe chimney watch. A scan of the article is available at http://www.mbchimneyswift.ca/Documents/carillon_2011.pdf

Frank Machovec

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