15 July 2012

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

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