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

For a map of monitored sites in Winnipeg, check out

and for a map of Manitoba sites with reported chimney swifts in 2011, look at

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


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

Interpretive sign installed in Portage

An interpretive sign has been installed next to the chimney swift tower in Portage la Prairie (near the old CPR Railway Station).

In other news, Eco-Action funding for the Manitoba Chimney Swift Initiative has been extended until the end of the current season.

Frank M

They’re back!

Our swifts are back, and reports are coming in from monitors throughout southern Manitoba. Reports have come from Morden, Portage, Dauphin, Carman, Selkirk, Saint Adolphe and Winnipeg.

We recently installed an interpretive sign near the swift tower in Saint Adolphe, and additional signs will soon be placed near the Portage la Prairie and Windsor Park towers.

A number of resources for monitoring are available on the chimney swift page of the Nature Manitoba website. These include descriptions of the monitoring protocols, forms, and guides to monitoring and interpretation of observations. Check out http://www.naturemanitoba.ca/CHSW.html#resources

There’s still time to volunteer! For more information call Frank at 798-6275 or email mbchimneyswift@gmail.com

Frank M

April 2011 Update

The chimney swifts should be returning soon, and we are looking forward to conducting another season of nest and roost monitoring.

The Manitoba Chimney Swift Initiative (MCSI) is looking for volunteers to help locate and monitor nesting and roosting sites in Manitoba for the 2011 season (May-September).

Volunteers may choose from three levels of involvement:

  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 – 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.

When you are in the field this season, please report any chimney swift sightings, especially from rural areas. Remember to include date, time, location, and number of birds.

In 2011, we will complete another season of nest/roost monitoring using volunteers, upgrade the appearance of existing tower sites with landscaping and interpretive signage, and we will conduct temperature studies at selected sites. 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. In conjunction with researchers at Queens University, we will collect guano from sites for analysis of swift diet and possible environmental contaminants over time. We will also be publishing two reports: one on the use of wildlife cameras for remote monitoring of swifts, and another on best practices for the monitoring of swift sites.

The following resources are available on-line:

2011 MCSI Monitoring Form – PDF Format or Word Format
Chimney Assesement Form – PDF Format or Word Format

Thanks for your interest and support!
Frank Machovec
Project Coordinator, Manitoba Chimney Swift Initiative