What’s it all about, Alfie?

The latter question was posed in the theme song to a popular 1966 Michael Caine flick, but it seems to apply to many of the monitoring reports we’re getting these days.

Let’s start this note with a THANK YOU to the volunteers who recently submitted observation reports from around the province.

As is often the case, there’s good news and less-than-good news…

On the positive side, we continue to receive reports of swift activity at nest or roost sites in various Manitoba locations– Saint Adolphe, Selkirk, Dauphin, Carman, La Broquerie, Lorette, Portage, Winnipeg, Brandon. We’ve even found some activity at hitherto-unreported sites, and had a report of a successful (not to mention noisy) nest in a Westwood chimney. We also have a new artificial nest structure of a unique design– all we need are chimney swift guests! We have a few casual reports of daytime sightings that don’t obviously correlate to known nest/roost sites…

On the other hand, several formerly active (mostly Winnipeg) sites are showing little or no activity. Roost sites in Selkirk and Dauphin seem to have reduced numbers, and the well-observed sites in St. Adolphe show signs of nest failure and “missing” birds.

We don’t have enough reports to draw definitive conclusions, but it seems like we may be having yet another season of unusual swift activity.

You can take a look at the multi-year monitoring summary at

VOLUNTEERS and SIGHTING REPORTS are always welcome. We could¬† use additional help in checking sites during daytime or roost hours. If you’ve got the time, we’ve got the chimney!

OUT AND ABOUT:  The Manitoba Chimney Swift Initiative is planning to have displays at two upcoming events: the Saint Adolphe Mudfest and the 23rd North American Prairie Conference at the University of Manitoba.

Frank Machovec

Happy Canada Day!

Last week provincial Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh announed the development of a new strategy to better protect species at risk that will include new funding for population recovery projects and developing new habitat protection legislation.

Part of this startegy is the declaration of the chimney swifts as an endangered species in Manitoba.

For more information, check the press release at


You might also want to check the Species At Risk page at http://www.gov.mb.ca/conservation/wildlife/sar/


Two “new” active sites have been found and monitored. There are a pair of swifts in the chimney at the Lorette Catholic Church, and three chimneys at Otterburne’s Providence College are being shared by at least seven swifts.

Monitoring reports recently received confirm strong bird counts at Selkirk, Dauphin, and Saint Adolphe sites.

Take a look at http://bit.ly/MABro1 for the current monitoring summary.

Don’t forget to send me your monitoring reports, and be on the lookout for “new additions” at your sites!



The clip was extracted from a 13 minute recording of a monitoring session at the Dauphin roost site (courtesy K. Wainwright).

How many swifts do you see?

We could still use volunteers to verify activity at several sites. If you’d like to help, please contact Frank at 204-798-6275 or send a note to mbchimneyswift@gmail.com

Thanks to our volunteers for taking the time to report the activities of our avian visitors!

Frank M