How to Report Chimney Swift Sightings

Chimney swifts congregate in communal roosts before migrating in late summer/fall, and it’s relatively easy to count them. Here’s how to count:

  • Look for tall brick chimneys that are uncapped. Watch to see where swifts are feeding and congregating. Pick one or more nights from early August in northern Wisconsin through mid- to late September in southern Wisconsin. Observe the roost starting about 30 minutes before sunset until 10 minutes after the last swift enters the chimney.
    • Count (or estimate) the number of swifts as they enter the chimney. It’s useful to count in groups of five or 10 birds at a time when many birds pour into the chimney in a short period of time.
  • Submit your data using one of two quick and easy ways.
    • Enter the data on eBird. Go to the ebird-quick-start-guide for instructions.

      When prompted for location, map your roost site to an exact address or point. After you enter the number of Chimney Swifts, please use the hash tag #swiftwi in the Chimney Swift details section. This will help us greatly in accessing the data.

    • If you want to go above and beyond and be a ROCK STAR, please add additional information in the Chimney Swift details section, in this exact order, with semicolons separating the data: #swiftwi; the type of building (residence, school, church, business, hospital, apartment, swift tower/structure, etc.); the condition of the chimney (in good shape; in need of repair); any other notes. (Example: #swiftwi; residence; chimney in need of repair; any other notes)

    • Please also include any Common Nighthawks you see. These aerial insectivores are also in decline

    • Or, if you do not use eBird, send the same information as above plus date of observation, exact start time, length of observation at the roost site, and your name, address, email address to Fred Dike, 2613 Waltham Rd., Madison, WI 53711;

Click this link to download the tracking form.

Keep Chimney Swifts common in Wisconsin