Chimney Swifts will soon return to chimneys all over central and eastern Montana! As a relatively recent arrival in Montana. In the last three years, Audubon staff and volunteers have located new nesting sites in towns like Billings, Glasgow, and Miles City. While we know the Chimney swifts are out and about, we really need your help locating more while the birds are active and nesting! Because little is known about their nesting range throughout our state, Montana Audubon is turning to citizen science for answers. Unlike searching for other swifts, 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 many ways you can participate and learn more about these energetic 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 Peter Dudley 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 join us in the field during our “Chimney Swift Night Out” event in Lewistown on June 3rd. 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.
Lewistown – June 3rd, Wings Across the Big Sky Bird Festival