by Ron Windingstad, Audubon Minnesota
Once again, volunteers throughout the state are needed to participate in Audubon Minnesota?s Second Annual Chimney Swift Sit for an hour on any day during July 29-August 1, or August 26-29.
Chimney Swift populations have declined 54 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” at a chimney they know have swifts, or suspects there are swifts, for about an hour any day between July 29-August 1, or August 26-29 and count/estimate the number of 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. If you cannot participate in the Sit but know of places where Chimney Swifts are roosting, please contact Ron Windingstad at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-739-9332 ext 14.
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 Nova Scotia this past year and we hope our efforts through research and education will help halt the decline here in Minnesota. You may have seen a tower at Rapids Lake in Carver or at Westwood Hills NC in St. Louis Park.
For more information about Chimney Swift conservation, visit http://mn.audubon.org.