[Ontbirds]Request for information on Chimney Swift Roosts

Mike Cadman mcadman at uoguelph.ca
Fri Oct 8 09:42:45 EDT 2004

Hello all:

I'm involved with other biologists from Quebec and the Maritimes in 
producing a Status report on the Chimney Swift in Canada for COSEWIC 
(Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada), and am 
hoping you can provide information on roosts in Ontario. Information on 
roosts and their history can be useful in assessing the status of the 
bird, and potentially in conservation efforts.

Chimney Swifts nest and roost in similar situations. Roosts can consist 
of a large number of birds (over 2000 at one roost in Quebec!), but 
there is only one nest in any one chimney.  Therefore, if you have 
observed more than about 8 birds entering a chimney or other such 
location, that is likely a roost site and we would like to know about 
it. Behaviour around a roost is distinctive, as described in this 
extract from the draft status report: "On fine evenings, they gradually 
close in on a chimney, flying in what appears to be a random manner. 
However, as the time to enter comes nearer, the birds form a tighter 
group and begin to swirl around the chimney while chittering and then, 
as if on cue, they vanish inside, rather like a puff of smoke in 
reverse. They may enter the chimney all together in one movement or in 
small groups. In the latter case, the birds still in flight continue to 
swirl around, attracting other nearby swifts with their calls, until the 
last individuals rush in. Sometimes the birds enter the chimney directly 
without displaying this behaviour. Just before they enter, they lift 
their wings to break their flight and then let themselves literally drop 
inside." In fine weather birds enter the roost about 10 minutes after 
sunset, and leave at about the same light level in the morning.

What we need to know is:

General location of roosts: County or district. Describe location in 
relation to nearest town, and/or provide UTM or lat-long.
Specific location of roost: Was it in a building, hollow tree, etc. 
Address and/or name of building. Was it in a chimney? If not, what was 
it in?
Number of birds using the roost?
Known history of use: What years was it used as a roost, and what dates 
during the year.
Your contact information.

If you have ANY of the above information on roosts, I'd very much 
appreciate your sending it to me at mcadman at uoguelph.ca.



MIke Cadman
Coordinator, Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas
Blackwood Hall, Room 211
University of Guelph
Guelph, ON
N1G 2W1
Phone 519-826-2094
Fax 519-826-2113
E-mail mcadman at uoguelph.ca

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