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Maritime SwiftWatch Outreach Guide

Posted: March 13, 2023

Birds Canada is the country’s only national organization dedicated to bird conservation. Our mission is to drive action to increase the understanding, appreciation, and conservation of bids in Canada. Every day, our thousands of caring donors, more than 70 passionate staff, and over 70,000 outstanding volunteers are taking action. Together, we are Canada’s voice for birds. Learn more at www.birdscanada.org

About Chimney Swifts

Chimney Swifts are small, grey birds that spend their days catching flying insects. Although their name comes from their use of chimneys, Chimney Swifts will also use barns, silos, and other dark, sheltered spaces for nesting and roosting (resting). Chimney Swifts cannot perch like other birds and instead hang on rough, vertical surfaces, such as the inside of a brick chimney, or a hollow tree. When nesting, typically in July, only one pair of swifts will make a small, 10-cm wide nest out of twigs and special, sticky saliva, where they lay 4 eggs on average. When roosting, a few up to a few thousand swifts can gather in a spectacular display as they fly inside
a chimney together for the night! This usually happens around dusk in large chimneys, such as those found on schools, factories, or churches.

Most birds in Canada that rely on flying insects for food (aerial insectivores), have faced large population declines since 1970, and Chimney Swifts are no exception, having declined by 90% in this time. There are many reasons for this, from a decline of flying insects, to climate change, to a loss of habitat in their breeding and overwintering grounds. Because Chimney Swifts use human-made structures, stewardship can literally happen in your own backyard! Landowners can visithttp://birdscanada.org/aerial-insectivores-you-can-help-landowners-managers-and-educators to learn more about sharing space with swifts and swallows. Birds Canada has volunteer opportunities for swift monitoring and conservation through our SwiftWatch program.

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