This summer, we are partnering with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) throughout eastern Montana to discover where Chimney Swifts are active and breeding. Little is currently known about their range in Montana, but citizen science is an excellent tool for monitoring such birds. In 2018, Montana Audubon and our volunteers helped locate seven new nesting sites in Billings, Glasgow, and Miles City. Unlike searching for other swifts, Chimney Swifts are best surveyed in towns and near buildings with large chimneys or similar structures. Surveys are short and occur 30 minutes before until 30 minutes after sunset, with observers stationed for just a short time at selected chimneys.
There are many ways you can participate and learn more about these fascinating urban birds. Start by checking out montanabirdsurveys.com for information on range, identification clues, calls, survey protocols and techniques. Then think about one of the many eastern Montana towns you’d like to visit. We have maps of each county for you to peruse, and you can survey anytime during June and July, so it’s easy to get involved! Even if you are unable to dedicate an evening to this survey, your Chimney Swift observations are valuable: please email Amy Seaman with observations and include date, time, location of observation, weather information, and who made the observation. Please also include a picture of the location or chimney as well: it is possible you could help discover a new nesting site worth monitoring. Remember, always be respectful of private property when considering your observation report.
You can also join us in the field during our “Chimney Swift Night Out” events in eastern Montana. Participants will learn about chimney swifts and population monitoring techniques, and then put that training to use that evening as we search local chimneys together. Here are three locations to choose from:
Glasgow – Thursday, June 6, FWP Headquarters in Glasgow
Forsyth – Wednesday, June 12, Location TBD
Billings – Friday, June 21, Montana Audubon Center
If you are interested in a survey or attending a Swift Night Out, please email Amy Seaman for confirmation and details. ([email protected] or 406-210-9449)