All of your sore neck muscles, throbbing backs, and blurry vision endured at the chimney sites helps deliver monitoring data. Numbers. The currency of databases…

Here is a link to the results of our 2015 monitoring season – the MCSI Roost and Nest Site Database 2014-2015 has been posted on the MCSI website, in the Results section. This database lists all known roost and nest sites in Manitoba and the maximum number of chimney swifts seen entering or exiting the site. For 2015, chimneys were designated as roost or nest sites if sufficient information was available. This year we asked for extra “daytime” monitoring prior to the roosting hour for the last National Roost Monitoring Program night (June 1) and the MCSI Blitz Night (June 6); many monitors continued with observations during the breeding season. Daytime entries/exits distinguish a nest site. At roost sites, chimney swifts enter the site within 1/2 hour of sunset to rest for the night; departure is made within 1/2 hour of sunup the following morning.

If you want to look at monitoring results for previous years, the 2007-2014 database is still posted on the MCSI website, Results section, at:

It is easy to correct omissions/errors in the database. So, if you find that numbers have been lost in transcription, please submit corrections and all will be remedied. If you have data that has not winged it’s way in yet, it is never too late to submit the results of your efforts.

A summary of the 2015 nest site outcomes in St. Adolphe is available too. It is also on the MCSI website, in the Results section.

Citizen science forms the basis of the chimney swift stewardship and outreach programs that MCSI develops. Thank you all for your significant contributions to our program this year – the swifts have been well served! Your gift of time and interest has helped us learn about the distribution, abundance, and biology (timing of arrivals, fledging etc.) of this threatened species in Manitoba. With your continued assistance, we will work to support chimney swift populations in Manitoba.

Let’s keep in touch! 

Barb Stewart for the MCSI team: Webmaster, Frank Machovec; Habitat Stewardship and Outreach Coordinator, Tim Poole (; and fellow Steering Committee members – Christian Artuso, Ron Bazin, Neil Butchard, Lewis Cocks, Ken De Smet, Nicole Firlotte, and Rob Stewart.

Going, going…they’re gone!

As September arrived, chimney swifts had departed from Manitoba once more. Our monitoring season has concluded with rewarding​ results. We contributed data to the third National Roost Monitoring Program (NRMP) which tracks the distribution and abundance of spring migrants ( The national organizers are now collating and analyzing the various provincial datasets – stay tuned for their results. After the NRMP, our monitors continued chimney side vigils in the summer to track developments at roost and nest sites; the 2015 MCSI Roost and Nest Site Database will be posted online after it is updated. Through the efforts of folks tracking down swifts seen in their neighbourhoods, or by questing candidate chimneys in new locations, there was a record breaking 17 new sites discovered this year in Manitoba. Well done everyone!

The withdrawal of chimney swifts from roost sites and most nest sites generally occurred by mid-August. The roost site at Dauphin had 4 swifts on Aug. 7 but was empty by Aug. 12 (Ken and Jan). Matt relayed news that the nesting Carman swifts had departed by Aug. 10. The Assiniboine School roost in Winnipeg was down to 18 swifts on Aug. 2 (Jacquie and Frank); the last entry was seen on Aug. 14 when 1 of 4 swifts circling the chimney entered but left soon afterward, so no swifts stayed to roost (David, Adolf). Selkirk’s large roost had: 29 swifts on Aug 3; 43 on Aug 10; 8 on Aug 17; and 0 on Aug 24; also empty on Aug. 24 were two other smaller Selkirk chimneys = Yellow Brick and Infirmary (August monitors = Carol, Dorothy, Gerald, James, Robert, Virginia, and Winona). Despite the general absence of swifts in communities by Aug. 24, 4 swifts roosted for the night in the small chimney at the Women’s Jail, Portage (Gord).

In mid- to late-August, a newly erected tower at the Old Grace Hospital site on Evanson St. in Wolseley did not attract any swifts during the pre-migratory and migratory phases. Special thanks to all of the monitors who stared down the tower rim on short notice – Adolf, Christian, David, Frank, Jacquie, Meg, Stephen, and Tim.

Successful fledging was reported from three communities this year in addition to the previously noted lift-off from the Church in St. Adolphe. In Brandon, an intensive amount of monitoring of Site 900 was done by Margaret, Millie, and Louanne who viewed juveniles on the wing. The peak roosting count was 5 swifts on Aug. 17 – the fledging count is likely 3. In Portage, Gordon and Janice watched the Trinity Church throughout the season and fledging occurred around the same time as for Brandon, about Aug. 8-12. A peak count of 5 swifts at Trinity Church (Janice, Aug. 24) suggests that 3 juveniles fledged from that site also. In La Broquerie, David followed developments at the Church and observed a juvenile entry on Aug. 14. The next night (Aug. 15), the roosting hour headcount was 6 swifts, with many noticeable juvenile entries being made – nominally, 4 juveniles fledged; 6 swifts were still roosting at the successful nest site on Aug. 24. The peak count at the St. Adolphe Church was 7, a week after the first sighting of 2 fledglings on Aug. 1. So, of the four successful nest sites followed in 2015, there were 3, 3, 4, and 5 fledglings who lifted off. Paul reported that the Darlingford site was very active with feeding entries/exits on Aug. 10, so it is hopeful that juveniles fledged from that chimney eventually.
The last observations of swifts on the wing came in from three different communities. Christian saw his last for the season over the river in St James, Winnipeg, on Aug. 26.  In the afternoon of Aug. 29, Robert saw 2 swifts flying over his Selkirk residence. That night, Gerald and Robert were monitoring nighthawks in Selkirk when 2 swifts flew over the Infirmary and Big Red Brick chimneys. Three swifts were seen in the vicinity for a few minutes before disappearing. Finally, an afternoon sighting of a juvenile over the United Church in Portage, on Aug. 31, by Carrie and Tim closed the reports for 2015. 

We wish all the swifts – adults and fledglings – a safe and speedy migration to the wintering grounds in the Amazon. Best wishes and thanks are sent also to all of you who we called upon to monitor, quest, and engage in chimney swift stewardship throughout 2015. I will send out an update with the completed database shortly, then Tim will have some habitat stewardship and outreach updates over the winter. In the spring, it will be time to welcome you back to the chimney sides for 2016, our tenth chimney swift monitoring season. Time flies…

All the best in birding, Barb.