Finally, an update!

In addition to our normal monitoring program, we asked volunteers to  monitor key sites on four specific evenings. This “four day protocol” was recommended by the national chimney swift recovery team as an experiment in coordinating national monitoring efforts.

I will pass along any “national” findings when I see them. Now, that I have received all the Manitoban four day reports I’m likely to see, I’ve updated the summary at:
Four day monitoring summary

Data from the four days is reflected in the overall summary as well:  2013 Monitoring summary

(The spreadsheets will be updated as more monitoring reports come in.)

Although it looks like spring is now here, we had some unseasonably cool, wet, and windy weather during some of the four “official” nights. Because of the weather, and to maximize coverage of sites, I have included some data from days immediately before and after the official count days. We also had some variation in coverage at sites due to differences in volunteer effort.

So, what does it all mean (and your interpretation may vary!) ??

The results of the four day monitoring effort seem inconsistent.

  • Results from some sites, both urban and rural, suggest “normal” arrival dates and behaviour.
  • Results from other sites, again both urban and rural, suggest late migration of chimney swifts. In some cases there were no birds at sites until the final monitoring date, some sites had (and still have) lower than normal numbers. There were some anomalous daytime sightings (like an apparent one-time roosting event  in Carman), and there was a one-time anomalous peak of birds at the Dauphin roost (and where did these birds come from and where were they going?).

One again, it seems apparent that the swifts have not read the book about their expected behaviour and  roosting times.

It is clear, however, that the swifts (and mosquitos) are now here!

So, please continue to check your sites for signs of successful nesting, and to help us identify departure dates at the end of the season. Thanks.

So, what is Frank up to?
I plan to check out some potential “new” sites with the goal of finding  roost sites in the Winnipeg core area (and some rural sites). I will also be checking some known sites that haven’t been visited in 2013.

My daughter will be moving to the Minneapolis area shortly, and I hope to visit a “chimney swift tower farm” in the Twin Cities area. Minnesota has a successful artificial tower program, and it makes one wonder what’s so different about conditions and construction methods south of the border.

 A New Chimney Swift Tower

A new  tower has been erected in the La Broquerie area. This “artificial tree,” designed and constructed by volunteer David Dawson, is twelve feet long, made of wood and offers a good internal gripping surface and more elevation above ground than our other towers. The tower, like another one made by Mr. Dawson last year, is the vicinity of a known chimney swift site (St Joachim Church). Let’s hope that the swifts flock to their new digs!

For more information about the project, check the website or drop me a line!

Frank Machovec