Montana Audubon

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Chimney Swifts Need YOU

Eastern Montana Swifts need your help!

Now that the summer solstice is just on the horizon, Chimney Swifts are busy tending chicks in their tiny, partially cup-shaped stick nests, in chimneys all over eastern Montana. Just last week in Glasgow, a team of Montana Audubon board members and staff gathered in town to watch the erratically flying birds cut 90 degrees down through the air to enter two different brick chimneys on old commercial buildings. During the rest of the week, we found another seven to be occupied in Glasgow alone! In Forsyth we found two occupied chimneys, and one more in Miles City.

We need your help locating more while these birds are active and nesting. Since little is known about their nesting range throughout our state, Montana Audubon is turning to citizen science to for answers. Unlike searching for other swifts, or many birds for that matter, Chimney Swifts are best surveyed in towns and near buildings with large chimneys. Surveys are short, occurring 30 minutes before until 30 minutes after sunset, with observers being stationed for just a short time at selected chimneys.

There are a number of ways you can participate and learn more about these cool 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 (contact info below) with observations and include date, time, location of observation, weather information, and who made the observation. Please include a picture of the location or chimney as well as 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 the test that evening as we search local chimneys together.

Billings – Late June 21st, Montana Audubon Education Center – Please RSVP by Thursday the 20th.

Please don’t hesitate to call or email Amy Seaman if you are interested in this fun project: [email protected] or 406-210-9449

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