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Threatened bird species finds home at Western

Earlier this year, the bird was assessed with the designation of Threatened by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). COSEWIC is the scientific body that advises the federal government on the status of species at risk.

Since 1967, the number of chimney swifts in Canada has plummeted by 95 per cent. Chimney swifts are sooty-coloured, swallow-like birds that nest and roost mainly in old, large-diameter, brick-lined chimneys. From late April to early October, sunrise to sunset, chimney swifts fly high in the sky, each eating up to a thousand insects a day.

The main reasons behind the dramatic drop in swift numbers are believed to be a general decline in insect populations and a shortage of suitable nesting and roosting sites. At night, the birds cling by their toenails to the vertical brick interior. Chimney swifts also build nests inside chimneys, using their glue-like saliva to attach twigs together and to the bricks.

With the growth of gas furnaces and chimney conversions to include metal linings, the stock of available chimneys suitable for use by swifts has been steadily diminishing since the 1960s.

In presenting this certificate, we are recognizing the importance of six of Westerns chimneys for breeding chimney swifts. By raising awareness of the needs of this threatened species, we hope Western will continue to maintain these chimneys in such a way that they will provide essential nesting habitat for swifts in years to come, says Winifred Wake, SwiftWatchs Volunteer Coordinator.


Contact: Jeff Renaud
519-661-2111 x85165
University of Western Ontario

Page: 1

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