An Update and a Reminder

search-clipartReports of Chimney Swifts returning to Manitoba have come in over the past week. Here’s a recap of spring arrivals:

1. Gary B. was the first to send in a report on Sunday, May 15 – in the morning he saw 4 Chimney Swifts at Bunn’s Creek Pond, at Gateway Road, Winnipeg.

2. However, the first sighting of the year goes to Matt D. in Carman – a lone swift flew over the Elementary School early afternoon on Wednesday, May 11. I hope this is a special sign of good things to follow as Matt spent all of last summer diligently watching empty sky!

3. On May 16, Lewis C. sent news that 12 Chimney Swifts were “whirling about Fort Whyte Alive” in the morning.

4. In St. Adolphe, 2 swifts made a fleeting appearance at 7:35 PM on May 17. They fed low over Japanese Maples and flew quietly east of the cemetery. Suzanne L., a local resident, first heard characteristic Chimney Swift vocalizations ~ 5 PM.

5. Carolyn E. also heard swifts in the Hampton St., St James, Winnipeg, area on May 18.
6. The Birds and Birding in Manitoba Yahoo site had a posting by Peter Douglas on May 18: 15 – 20 Chimney Swifts had roosted in Assiniboine School, St. James, Winnipeg. The big roost appears to be setting up again this year; the roosting “funnel” is quite a spectacle to see if the numbers build.

7. Another May 18 sighting was made – this one in Portage La Prairie by Cody R. (Yahoo site posting): “Around 8 PM last night 4 chsw did a couple of flybys over my house on Dufferin ave for the first time this year”.

8. The trend of first sightings continued on May 19. Gerald M. had posted a report on the Yahoo site that the first swift had been spotted in Selkirk.

9. Perhaps you have heard my pep talk about the value of data points = 0. Observations of “nothing” establish baselines or confirm lack of activity. David D. monitored the La Broquerie Church on May 19 and saw no swifts = the birds had not returned yet. Hopefully, the season will be underway this coming week!

10. Interestingly, way up in Dauphin on May 19, Ken W. reported 10 Chimney Swifts entered their roost between 9:50-9:59 PM (sunset that night = 9:35).

More updates came in…..

Gordon O., our long term monitor in Portage La Prairie, called in a report of 2 swifts seen over Trinity United Church the morning of May 21.

When I went to St. Adolphe around 8 PM on May 21, the local group size had increased to 4.

May 22, from Ken: “still 10 swifts in Dauphin, going down between 9:50 and 9:59”

May 22, from an understandably delighted Carolyn: “A total of 6 have returned now to Hampton Street! So exciting! The watch continues! ”

The last report of a first sighting for 2016 came to our coordinator, Tim Poole, from Joel K. in The Pas. Four Chimney Swifts were flying about the rooftop at the corner of 5th Street and Larose Avenue at 7:14 AM.

Thanks everyone for updating the group on early morning, mid-day, and evening observations.

13428363861300088437dont-forget smiley-mdWe are now approaching the first of the four nights when monitoring for the National Roost Monitoring Program (NRMP) takes place…


  • Please be at your site, ready to record entries and exits, to start 1 hour before sunset and continue to 1/2 hour after sunset. MCSI uses information on exits/entries in the daytime to distinguish nest sites from roost sites. Our 1 1/2 hour session has A.) 1/2 hour of daytime viewing and then we seamlessly transition to B.) roosting hour viewing (= 1/2 hour before sunset to 1/2 hour after sunset). Record your start time and finish time, plus sunset time, on the datasheet and we can partition the observations into “daytime” and “roosting hour” categories.
  • Check your newspaper or a weather site for sunset times in your area.
  • Datasheets and monitoring protocols can be found on the Resource page of our MCSI website =
  • The national organizers encourage monitoring if it is raining. Use your discretion – if it is miserably stormy and you can’t see the chimney rim, chances are the swifts will have made an early retreat. Despite being afflicted with obsessive-compulsive Chimney Swift disorder, I draw the line at being hit by lightning. Stay safe!
  • News of NRMP-1 will be sent out before NRMP-2 (May 29) ~ send in a brief synopsis of your evening to have your site included in the blog update.

All the best for your viewing sessions

— Barb for the MCSI team.

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A project to better understand the causes behind the decline in Chimney Swift populations and help reverse the trend.

One thought on “An Update and a Reminder”

  1. as beginners we were out Sunday in full rain gear umbrellas et al! But alas not a bird did we see. Hopefully Sunday will yield better results. Yvonne Cantin


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