December heralds a suite of significant events. Celebratory occasions for people of many faiths take place this month. The winter solstice on December 21 marks the renewal of increasing daylight. As the calendar year closes, we should take pause and look back on the achievements made in the domain of chimney swifts this year…
To anchor a significant achievement, we have received a timely “gift” to share with you all. The 2015 National Roost Monitoring Program (NRMP) maps, which depict the spring monitoring data collected across Canada, have arrived. Special thanks to Diana Teal (Ontario SwiftWatch Coordinator, Bird Studies Canada), for preparing the maps. We also send our thanks to Celine Maurice (Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment Canada, Quebec) who organizes the NRMP and collates the national results.

The map files are too large to properly display on the this page, so click here for a pdf file of the original  national map, and click here for the Manitoba section only.
Many people have said how rewarding it has been to engage in a national monitoring initiative. It is truly an accomplishment to engage volunteer monitors throughout the chimney swift’s summer range. Piecing together information from across the country helps us understand the biological substrate of this threatened species. So, as you view the abundance/distribution maps, keep this perspective – in Manitoba, we have fewer swifts dispersed in limited areas. As a result, you will notice our “circles” are smaller in diameter and fewer in number compared to the population hot-spots in Ontario and Quebec. That does not diminish the value of your efforts! Indeed, monitoring data collected in Manitoba is crucial to inform us about the swifts living at the periphery of the distribution. So, thank you again from all of us at MCSI for an accomplished 2015 season!

Looking ahead to the New Year, we hope to count you in the group of environmentally conscious, citizen scientists who will participate in 2016 activities. Our chimney swifts wintering in the Amazon are about three months away from starting their northern migration. To enumerate returning swifts in Canada, the 2016 NRMP is set for Wed. May 25, Sun. May 29, Thurs. June 2, and Mon. June 6 (MCSI may add another night – tbd). MCSI monitoring will continue throughout the summer to track nesting success and roost site dynamics. Questing crews will be searching for new habitat, in both urban and wilderness settings. The promise of rewarding experiences, which ultimately will benefit chimney swifts, is with us all.  
Wishing you the best of winter birding pleasures, Barb Stewart for the MCSI Team: Frank Machovec, webmaster; Tim Poole, Habitat Stewardship and Outreach Coordinator; Christian Artuso, Ron Bazin, Neil Butchard, Lewis Cocks, Ken De Smet, Nicole Firlotte, and Rob Stewart, Steering Committee Members.