by Ron Windingstad, Audubon Minnesota
This year, 300 volunteers throughout the state are needed to participate in Audubon Minnesota’s Second Annual Chimney Swift Sit for an hour on any day during August 6-9 or August 27-30. Chimney Swift populations have declined 49 percent over the past 40 years. This species is important to the environment, as each day Chimney Swifts consume one-third of their weight in flying insects, such as mosquitoes and flies, making them a natural insect control. The data that volunteers collect will help us better understand the distribution of migrating Chimney Swifts in Minnesota.
Here’s how the Sit works: Participants “sit” for about an hour any day August 6-9 and August 27-30, count chimney swifts as they enter a nighttime roosting place, and record the data on their Sit participation form. Volunteers can count on one night or on several nights during the designated period. For more information about the Sit and to download a participation form, go to http://mn.audubon.org/events/714. If you cannot participate in the Sit but know of places where Chimney Swifts are roosting, please contact Ron Windingstad at .
In addition to the Sit, Audubon Minnesota is promoting Chimney Swift conservation efforts by educating chimney owners about the habitat needs of Chimney Swifts and facilitating the building of new structures specifically for use by these birds as nest and roost sites. The Chimney Swift was just declared an endangered species in Canada this year and we hope our efforts through research and education will help halt the decline here in Minnesota.
For more information about Chimney Swift conservation, visit the events page http://mn.audubon.org.