Get Involved

Annual Chimney Swift Sit

Volunteers can participate in the Chimney Swift Sit in July and August

Every year between late July and early September we call upon any and all Chimney Swift fans to find a roost and enjoy an evening outside estimating/counting swifts as they enter the nighttime roost. Count on one night or several, and at one or several locations during these designated weekends.

2017 Chimney Swift Dates:

  • Phase 1: July 28 - July 30 (Friday through Sunday)
  • Phase 2: Aug. 25 - Aug. 27 (Friday through Sunday) 

The Sit involves finding chimneys/smokestacks/towers being used by Chimney Swifts and then counting/estimating the number that go in to roost during the designated Sit time period.

Participation is easy!

  • Spread the word - invite neighbors, friends, kids and grandkids to join you during the Sit
  • Sometimes scouting an area prior to the official sit is beneficial so you can determine where the best seat will be. 
  • Arrive at the area where you know, or suspect, Chimney Swifts are roosting about 20 minutes before sunset
  • Keep track of a few details (see Data Entry link below) such as:
    • Date, time, number of observers, type of structure (chimney at a house or school, Chimney Swift tower), location, and the number of swifts observed entering into the structure.
    • Remember – zero is data too – track all efforts even if you don't see any Chimney Swifts.
  • Once you have completed the SIT, please enter your observations into our online data form no later than September 9, 2016.


SIGN UP to receive notification of SIT dates (and report of results) – it’s easy!

Your Counts matter!

Thanks to your observations, in May 2015, we learned that the Chimney Swift Sit information was used to help designate 2 Minnesota Important Bird Areas as Global IBAs:

Thanks to the hundreds of volunteers who have participated in the Swift Sit effort over the past 6 years! Through your efforts, we were able to gain enough information to document that both of these IBAs are highly important to Chimney Swifts, a species of global conservation concern. The Sit effort provided us with the documentation needed to show that these IBAs regularly surpass the criteria to reach global status, which is observing over 240 roosting swifts during the migratory season. Both IBAs have chimneys that account for more than triple the needed number to qualify. These IBAs are not only where Chimney Swifts are documented roosting in large numbers during migration, but we know they provide critical foraging and nesting habitats for these birds as well.

Don't Know Where to Go?

Chimney Swifts are often seen swooping through the skies in the evening hours. If you know of or suspect a chimney is being used by swifts, be sure to make it count during the SIT. If you live in the Twin Cities metro area and would like to help monitor some of the artificial Chimney Swift Towers on public land, please see the online map for swift tower details and locations: Chimney Swift (CHSW) Tower Locations Map 

To use the map:

  • Click on the CHSW Tower icon (a red pin) to find out if the tower is public
  • Use the zoom in/out commands to get a closer view OR
  • Enter your address into the upper right-hand corner of the map & see towers located near you.

The number of swifts you might see go into a chimney will vary from chimney to chimney and even from count to count. During the first phase of the sit, some chimneys may be occupied by a nesting pair with relatively few swifts entering the tower, yet others may be roosting sites with 100's of swifts using the chimney. Remember every chimney used by a swift is important. Chimney swifts have declined by over 50% in just the last 40 years. Your participation in the Annual Chimney Swift Sit adds critical information and understanding to help us work toward reversing this alarming trend. THANK YOU!

Annual Chimney Swift Sit results will be posted here once compiled and emailed to all our Chimney Swift contacts (sign up via link above). 

If you have any questions please email Joanna Eckles or call (651) 739-9332 ext 111.

Watch Swifts entering chimney on this You Tube video by Jon Smithers  

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