Chimney Swift  ( Martinet ramoneur )  This species is of special interest to Timiskaming birders.    All sightings should be documented and reported.

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Chaetura pelagica

 (No high quality local photo available yet for this species.) 

General Notes

The status of the Chimney Swift was assessed as Threatened by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) in April of 2007.  This species has experienced a significant long-term decline over most of its breeding range. Data from the Breeding Bird Survey indicate that the Canadian population has been declining by an average of 7.8% per year since 1968, which represents a total decline of 95%.  The area it occupies in Canada has declined by a third over the last thirty years.

The Chimney Swift spends the major part of the day in flight feeding on insects. Prior to the arrival of European settlers in North America, Chimney Swifts nested mainly in the trunks of large, hollow trees, and occasionally on cave walls or in rocky crevices. Land clearing associated with colonization made hollow trees increasingly rare, which led Chimney Swifts to move into house chimneys. Today, the species is mainly associated with urban and rural areas where the birds can find chimneys to use as nesting and resting sites. However, it is likely that a small portion of the population continues to use hollow trees. In the northern part of the breeding range, the Chimney Swift favours sites where the ambient temperature is relatively stable. 

The Chimney Swift uses its glutinous saliva to build a half-saucer-shaped nest from twigs, which it cements to a vertical chimney surface. While each chimney generally houses a single couple, larger chimneys often serve as roosting sites before or after breeding.

The most significant threats to the Chimney Swift population appear to be the decreasing number of nesting and roosting sites caused by the demolition of old abandoned buildings and the sharp decline in the number of suitable and accessible traditional chimneys.

They winter in the upper Amazon basin in South America (mainly in Peru), southern and northeastern Ecuador, northwestern Brazil, and northern Chile. In its South American wintering area, the species is threatened by intensive logging operations and by the fires that ravage the Amazon forest and destroy the hollow trees this bird favours. Hurricanes during the Chimney Swift migration period and harsh weather conditions during breeding season have also caused considerable deaths.

Abundance: Uncommon Earliest observed date:  

Typical arrival date:

May 9
Breeding Status: Breeding Latest observed date:  

Typical departure date:

August 22

Documented Observations