Chaetura pelagica - (Linnaeus, 1758)
Chimney Swift
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Chaetura pelagica (Linnaeus, 1758) (TSN 178001)
French Common Names: Martinet ramoneur
Spanish Common Names: Vencejo de Chimenea
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.106082
Element Code: ABNUA03010
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Birds - Other Birds
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Aves Apodiformes Apodidae Chaetura
Genus Size: C - Small genus (6-20 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1998. Check-list of North American birds. Seventh edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C. [as modified by subsequent supplements and corrections published in The Auk]. Also available online: http://www.aou.org/.
Concept Reference Code: B98AOU01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Chaetura pelagica
Taxonomic Comments: May constitute a superspecies with C. vauxi and C. chapmani (AOU 1998).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G4G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 07Apr2016
Global Status Last Changed: 07Apr2016
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G4 - Apparently Secure
Reasons: Numbers are still in millions.
Nation: United States
National Status: N5B (19Mar1997)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N4B,N3M (02Dec2017)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (S5B), Arkansas (S4B,S5N), California (SNA), Colorado (S4B), Connecticut (S4B), Delaware (S5B), District of Columbia (S4N,S5B), Florida (S4B), Georgia (S5), Illinois (S5), Indiana (S5B), Iowa (S5B), Kansas (S4B), Kentucky (S5B), Louisiana (S5B), Maine (S5B), Maryland (S5B), Massachusetts (S5B), Michigan (S5), Minnesota (SNRB), Mississippi (S5B), Missouri (SNRB), Montana (S3S4B), Nebraska (S5), New Hampshire (S4B), New Jersey (S4B), New Mexico (S2B,S4N), New York (S5B), North Carolina (S5B), North Dakota (SNRB), Ohio (S5), Oklahoma (S5B), Pennsylvania (S5B), Rhode Island (S5B), South Carolina (SNRB), South Dakota (S5B), Tennessee (S5), Texas (S3S4B), Vermont (S4B), Virginia (S5), West Virginia (S3B), Wisconsin (S4B), Wyoming (S3B)
Canada Labrador (SNA), Manitoba (S2B), New Brunswick (S2S3B,S2M), Newfoundland Island (SNR), Nova Scotia (S2B,S1M), Ontario (S4B,S4N), Prince Edward Island (SHB), Quebec (S2S3), Saskatchewan (S2B)

Other Statuses

Canadian Species at Risk Act (SARA) Schedule 1/Annexe 1 Status: T (05Mar2009)
Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC): Threatened (01Apr2018)
Comments on COSEWIC: Reason for Designation: This aerial insectivore is a long-distance migrant, breeding in central and eastern Canada and wintering in South America. It has experienced a long-term population decline of close to 90% since 1970 in areas outside towns and cities, including a reduction of 49% over the past three generations (14 years). However, most roost counts in towns and urban areas show relatively stable numbers. A significant cause of decline is the reduced availability of aerial insects, likely due to the effects of agricultural and other pesticides, changing agricultural practices, and broad-scale ecosystem modifications in much of its breeding, migratory and wintering range. Reduced availability of roosting and nesting sites in chimneys and similar human-made structures, and in large hollow trees, is also likely contributing to declines. Greater frequency and severity of weather extremes may be reducing productivity, and increasing mortality during migration.

Status History: Designated Threatened in April 2007. Status re-examined and confirmed in April 2018.

IUCN Red List Category: VU - Vulnerable

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: >2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: BREEDING: east-central Saskatchewan east across southern Canada to Nova Scotia and probably Newfoundland, south to eastern New Mexico, southern Texas, Gulf Coast, and southern Florida, and west to southeastern Wyoming and eastern Colorado (AOU 1998). NON-BREEDING: western Peru, northern Chile, and upper Amazon basin of eastern Peru and Brazil (Stiles and Skutch 1989, AOU 1998). MIGRATION: eastern Mexico, Caribbean slope of Middle America, Colombia, and western Venezuela (AOU 1998).

Area of Occupancy: >12,500 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments: Estimated from Birdlife International (2014) data.

Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300
Number of Occurrences Comments: This species is represented by a large number of occurrences (subpopulations), with an estimiated global population of almost 8 million birds (Partners in Flight, 2013).

Population Size: >1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: The Canadian population, which occupies one quarter of the breeding range, is estimated at just 11,820 breeding individuals (COSEWIC 2007), although the global population has been estimated at 15,000,000 individuals (Richÿet al.ÿ2004). (Birdlife International, 2014).

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Many to very many (41 to >125)
Viability/Integrity Comments: With an estimated global population of almost 8 million, there should be at least 125 good element occurrences.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: The most significant threat to the species appears to be the decreasing number of nesting and roosting sites caused by logging operations, the demolition of old abandoned buildings and, especially, the sharp decline in the number of suitable and accessible traditional chimneys, which are this species's main breeding habitat (COSEWIC 2007, R. Windingstad in litt. 2010). It is projected that very few suitable sites will remain within the next thirty years (COSEWIC 2007). The number of breeding sites in Quebec is limited, and it is estimated that only 60% of breeding-age adults actually reproduce; a trend which is thought to be replicated across Canada (COSEWIC 2007). Hurricanes during the migration period and harsh weather conditions during breeding season have caused a considerable number of deaths (COSEWIC 2007, Dionne et al. 2008). In its South American wintering area, the species is threatened by intensive logging operations and by fires (COSEWIC 2007) (Birdlife International, 2014). HABITAT CHANGE: In Texas, construction of homes without fireplaces and the screening of chimneys is thought to have slowed the expansion of the swift within the state (Oberholser 1974). Chimney screening and demolition of buildings (businesses, homes, silos) historically used for nesting/roosting can eliminate important habitat. The loss of historic roosts used by 1000s of individuals during fall migration could be devastating if alternate sites are unavailable. The surface of metal flue pipe emplaced within newly-constructed chimneys is too smooth for swifts to cling to, resulting in the entrapment and death of birds. PREDATION: Confirmed predators of adults include Mississippi Kites (ICTINIA MISSISSIPPIENSIS; Bolen and Flores 1993) and Sharp-shinned Hawks (ACCIPITER STRIATUS; Bent 1940); nestlings are preyed upon by Rat Snakes (ELAPHE OBSOLETA; Cink 1990). OTHER: Large flocks roosting in chimneys are sometimes accidentally killed. Between 3000 and 5000 swifts were killed in October in a chimney in Quincy, Illinois when the heat was turned on due to unseasonably cold weather (Bent 1940). Prolonged periods of wet, cold weather during the spring, which decrease flying insect abundance, can result in starvation (Bent 1940). Birds sometimes also starve during migration (Spendelow 1985). Threats on the wintering grounds are unknown.

Short-term Trend: Decline of 10-70%
Short-term Trend Comments: This species is classified as Near Threatened as survey data have demonstrated that it has undergone a moderately rapid population decline due to loss of nesting habitat. However, trends for three-generation periods ending in 2006, 2007 and 2009 have reached 32%, 31% and 30% respectively, and should these rates of declines continue, the species may be uplisted to Vulnerable. According to figures from the Breeding Birds Survey, trends over a 15 year period (three generations) for the last 20 years have, on average, indicated a 20-29% decline in the global population (J. Sauer in litt. 2010) (Birdlife International, 2014). Significant downward trend (-1%/year) in the United States and Canada from 1966-1996 as indicated by analysis of BBS routes (Sauer et al. 1997). The most significant regional decline occurred in Canada (-6%/year), with the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec all showing declines. Has extended its range west of the Mississippi River following the construction of buildings having chimneys. For example, in Texas, Oberholser (1974) documented a southward and westward range expansion between the 1930s and 1960s. Although rare in the Oklahoma panhandle in the 1950s, considered common there by the 1980s (Baumgartner and Baumgartner 1992).

Long-term Trend: Decline of 50-90%
Long-term Trend Comments: Trends have been recorded through North America between 1966 and 2007, with a decline of 5.5% per year in Canada (total decline of 90%) and 1.8% per year in the USA (total decline of 53%). Overall, during this period the population has declined by 1.9% per year, though this decline has accelerated in recent years, reaching a decline of 2.8% per year between 1980 and 2008 (Dionne et al. 2008) (total decline of 40% over this period) (Sauer et al. 2008). This species is classified as Near Threatened as survey data has demonstrated that it has undergone a moderately rapid population decline due to loss of nesting habitat. However, trends for three-generation periods ending in 2006, 2007 and 2009 have reached 32%, 31% and 30% respectively, and should these rates of declines continue, the species may be uplisted to Vulnerable (Birdlife International, 2014).

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Moderately vulnerable to not intrinsically vulnerable.
Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Nesting habitat of hollow trees has been cited as cause of population declines, although this still needs evidence (Steeves, et. Al. 2014).

Environmental Specificity: Very narrow to moderate.
Environmental Specificity Comments: Vulnerable due to dependence on chimneys for nesting.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: Continue to monitor populations in Canda and US as part of the BBS (Birdlife International, 2014).

Protection Needs: Some chimneys may have to be preserved, or artificial nesting or roosting chimneys may have to be created, in communities where there are no longer enough suitable chimneys available. Education of the public about the importance of existing chimneys to the success of nesting swifts is important (Steeves, et. al. 2014).

Distribution
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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) BREEDING: east-central Saskatchewan east across southern Canada to Nova Scotia and probably Newfoundland, south to eastern New Mexico, southern Texas, Gulf Coast, and southern Florida, and west to southeastern Wyoming and eastern Colorado (AOU 1998). NON-BREEDING: western Peru, northern Chile, and upper Amazon basin of eastern Peru and Brazil (Stiles and Skutch 1989, AOU 1998). MIGRATION: eastern Mexico, Caribbean slope of Middle America, Colombia, and western Venezuela (AOU 1998).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The maps for birds represent the breeding status by state and province. In some jurisdictions, the subnational statuses for common species have not been assessed and the status is shown as not-assessed (SNR). In some jurisdictions, the subnational status refers to the status as a non-breeder; these errors will be corrected in future versions of these maps. A species is not shown in a jurisdiction if it is not known to breed in the jurisdiction or if it occurs only accidentally or casually in the jurisdiction. Thus, the species may occur in a jurisdiction as a seasonal non-breeding resident or as a migratory transient but this will not be indicated on these maps. See other maps on this web site that depict the Western Hemisphere ranges of these species at all seasons of the year.
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, AR, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV, WY
Canada LB, MB, NB, NF, NS, ON, PE, QC, SK

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: NatureServe, 2002; NatureServe, 2005


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
WY Converse (56009)*, Goshen (56015), Laramie (56021), Natrona (56025), Niobrara (56027), Park (56029), Platte (56031)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
10 Clarks Fork Yellowstone (10070006)+, Lance (10120104)+, Niobrara Headwaters (10150002)+, Middle North Platte-Casper (10180007)+, Glendo Reservoir (10180008)+, Middle North Platte-Scotts Bluff (10180009)+, Lower Laramie (10180011)+, Horse (10180012)+, Crow (10190009)+, Upper Lodgepole (10190015)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A bird (swift).
Reproduction Comments: Most individuals do not nest until two-years old (Dexter 1981a, Fischer 1958).

OVIPOSTION/INCUBATION: Eggs are laid from May through July (Terres 1991). Nests are constructed of dead twigs broken off trees while birds are in flight (Shelley 1929) and glued to the interior wall of a hollow anthropogenic or natural structures with saliva (Bent 1940, Fischer 1958). Old nests are rarely re-used (Dexter 1962, Dexter 1981b). Egg-laying begins when the nest is approximately half finished. Egg are laid every other day and incubation begins after the penultimate egg is laid. Clutch size typically ranges from 2-6 eggs (average = 4.3), but as many as 8 eggs have been found in one nest. Nests containing more than six eggs may be the result of oviposition by two females. Incubation typically takes 19 days, but ranges from 16-21 days. Will re-lay if first clutch is lost (Fischer 1958). One female, studied over a 10-year period, laid a total of 34 eggs (3-5 eggs per clutch, mean = 4.25, n = 8) and fledged 27 young (0-4 young per year, mean = 3, n = 9; Dexter 1956). Clutch size of first-year nesting females (2-5 eggs, mean 3.5) studied in Ohio was smaller than subsequent clutches (3-7, mean 4.1; Dexter 1981a). Both sexes incubate the eggs and brood and feed the young. An additional adult or two sometimes assist parents with incubation, brooding and feeding of young (Dexter 1952a, Fischer 1958). The extra adult is most often a male (Dexter 1952a, Dexter 1981a). Whereas extra adults enhanced nesting success of first-year nesting females, they had no influence on nesting success of older females (Dexter 1981a).

FLEDGING: Young leave the nest, but remain nearby, at 14-19 days old. Juveniles typically first fly 30 days after hatching.

NEST SUCCESS: Hatching success for 20 nests studied in New York was 90.7%, and fledging success, as defined as young that survived to fly outdoors, was 86% (Fischer 1958). Adults continue to care for young washed out of the nest and, in some cases, the young survive to fledge (Dexter 1952b).

Ecology Comments: MATE/SITE FIDELITY: Exhibits mate and site fidelity, and normally mates for life (Dexter 1951b, Dexter 1992). In Ohio, 84.5% of nesting swifts under observation retained the same mate when both returned for nesting, and 96% of the pairs that returned and nested together occupied the same air shaft used in the previous year (Dexter 1992). In New York, two pairs mated for three successive summers and five pairs mated for two successive summers (Fischer 1958). Sixty-two percent of banded adults returned to the New York study area and of these 70.5% returned to their previous nest site (Fischer 1958). In Kingston, Ontario, 9.7% of banded bird returned to the study area (Bowman 1952). One bird, banded at Rome, Georgia was subsequently captured at Kent, Ohio, then captured again at Rome (Dexter 1979). In New York, 11% of birds banded as nestlings returned to the study area, and 70% of these returned to their natal site to breed (Fischer 1958).

WEATHER: The time interval between visits to feed young increases at temperatures above or below 21-24 C, and on windy or rainy days (Zammuto et al. 1981). Most individuals leave the roost during light levels of 0-0.65 lux, and return to roost at light levels of 0-0.19 lux (Zammuto and Franks 1981). On cold, rainy mornings, emergence from the roost is either delayed or birds soon return after leaving. On windy days, birds leave the roost earlier and return later than on calm days (Zammuto and Franks 1981). Relatively cold or warm temperatures, wind, and rain all reduce flying insect abundance and apparently decrease swift foraging efficiency (Zammuto and Franks 1981, Zammuto et al. 1981).

POPULATION PARAMETERS: At Kingston, 177 banded swifts were still alive six years after banding (Bowman 1952). Annual mortality is estimated to be 50% (Fischer 1958). Lives to be 14 years old (Terres 1991).

Habitat Type: Terrestrial
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: Y
Mobility and Migration Comments: PHENOLOGY: Migrates northward, often in small flocks, through North America from mid-March through May. Migrates southward in August and September in large flocks (Stokes 1979). Migrates diurnally (Bent 1940).

ROUTES: A trans-Gulf migrant; the vast majority of individuals apparently cross the Gulf of Mexico between the United States and Mexico. A second migration pathway over the West Indies is apparently little used (Lowery 1943). Raffaele (1989) consider it an extremely rare migrant over the Virgin Islands. Migrates through Costa Rica along the Caribbean coast from mid-March to late April and from early October through early November (Stiles and Skutch 1989). As they migrate through Costa Rica, thousands may gather into feeding flocks over open areas during stormy weather, sometimes in the company of other swifts (Stiles and Skutch 1989).

FLOCK SIZE: A flock migrating over Kingston, Ontario on 14 May 1947 was estimated to contain 10,000 individuals (Bowman 1952). One fall flock, roosting in a hollow Sycamore tree, was estimated to contain 9000 individuals, and another, roosting in a chimney, contained an estimated 12,620 individuals (Bent 1940, Groskin 1945).

MIGRATION SPEED: Travels approximately 100 kilometers per day during migration (Bowman 1952). An individual banded at Kingston, Ontario on 2 September 1928 was recovered 12 days later at Charleston, West Virginia (traveled approximately 62 kilometers per day). Another individual, banded at Lexington, Missouri in September, arrived at Baton Rouge, Louisiana 3 days later (a travel rate of approximately 324 kilometers per day). A swift banded at Baton Rouge, Louisiana was captured 750 kilometers to the north 5 days later (an average of 150 kilometers per day). Another swift banded at Chattanooga, Tennessee was recovered 160 kilometers away on the same day (Bowman 1952). An individual banded at London, Ontario, was captured 12 days later at Knoxville, Tennessee (an average of 67 kilometers per day; Hitchcock 1945). Prior to fall migration, pre-migratory flocks (apparently composed of local individuals) form (Fischer 1958, Michael and Chao 1973).

WINTERING: Winters in the upper Amazon River basin from western Peru to Bolivia and central Brazil (Lincoln 1944, Stiles and Skutch 1989, Terres 1991).

Riverine Habitat(s): Aerial
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Aerial
Palustrine Habitat(s): Aerial
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Aerial, Suburban/orchard, Urban/edificarian
Habitat Comments: Cosmopolitan; inhabits rural and urban environments having both an abundance of flying arthropods and suitable roosting/nesting sites. Nests principally in chimneys, but also on the interior walls of a variety of other anthropogenic structures including silos, barns, outhouses, uninhabited houses, boathouses, wells, and cisterns (Bent 1940). Natural nest sites include the interior of hollow tree trunks and branches, Pileated Woodpecker cavities and rock shelters (Bent 1940, Fisher 1958, Hofslund 1958). Trees in which nests have been found include American Beech (FAGUS GRANDIFOLIA), Yellow Birch (BETULA LUTEA), Silver Maple (ACER SACCHARINUM), Sycamore (PLATANUS OCCIDENTALIS), Bald Cypress (TAXODIUM DISTICHUM), and Water Tupelo (NYSSA AQUATICA; Blodgett and Zammuto 1979, Fischer 1958, Hofslund 1958, Mumford and Keller 1984, Stevenson and Anderson 1994). Due to the prevalence of nesting structures in areas populated by humans, often occurs at higher densities in anthropogenic environments than natural ones (i.e., forests; Beissinger and Osborne 1982). Migrating flocks roost overnight principally in chimneys, but also in hollow trees or, rarely, even exposed on tree trunks (Bent 1940, Spendelow 1985).
Adult Food Habits: Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore
Food Comments: Forages for arthropods, principally flying insects, while in flight (Terres 1991). With rare exceptions, foraging is diurnal (Bent 1940, Oberholser 1974). Occasionally picks insects off tips of tree branches (Fischer 1958). Fischer (1958) examined over 1000 insects fed to young in New York. Principal food items (95%), in decreasing order of frequency, included Diptera, Homoptera, Hymenoptera, Ephemeroptera, and Plecoptera. The remainder of the diet was composed of Coleoptera, Hemiptera, Trichoptera, Siphonaptera, and Arachnids. Fleas (Siphonaptera) inhabiting the nest may have entered the diet accidentally (Fischer 1958). At times the diet is comprised overwhelmingly of one insect group or species, apparently the result of selection of insects when locally abundant (Fischer 1958). Bent (1940) also reported that insects are the principal prey items, including agricultural pests such as the potato beetle (LEMA TRILINEATA) and the tarnished plant bug (LYGUS PRATENSIS). Wanders a mile (1.6 km) or more from the nest when foraging (Fischer 1958). One individual was observed attempting to steal a dragonfly (Odonata) from the beak of a flying Purple Martin (PROGNE SUBIS; Brown 1980). Water is obtained on the wing by skimming low over bodies of water (Oberholser 1974).
Adult Phenology: Diurnal
Immature Phenology: Diurnal
Length: 13 centimeters
Weight: 24 grams
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Stewardship Overview: As determined by North American Breeding Bird Survey, population is declining, particularly at the northern edge of its range. Factors contributing to the decline are unknown, but could include loss of breeding structures, prolonged cold or wet weather that could result in starvation of nestlings, or unidentified threats on the wintering grounds. Reproduction requires a combination of suitable nesting habitat and an abundance of flying insects. Management includes retaining chimneys as habitat and the construction of artificial nesting/roosting structures. Need to implement population monitoring programs to supplement data collected during Breeding Bird Surveys.
Restoration Potential: Readily adapts to anthropogenic structures for nesting and roosting; therefore likely to establish in new or historic localities with the construction of buildings that provide sunlight-excluding, vertical, rough-surfaced shafts.
Preserve Selection & Design Considerations: Suitable nesting habitat includes appropriate nest structures (vertical shafts that exclude sunlight) and an abundance of flying insect prey. Minimum area requirements are unknown, although known to forage a mile (1.6 km) or more from the nest (Fischer 1958).
Management Requirements: Dark, vertical shafts having rough interior surfaces that facilitate roosting (e.g., chimneys, hollow trees) are essential for nesting and roosting. Chimneys with smooth surfaces (e.g., metal flue pipe) should be capped to prevent swift entrapment. Chimneys should be kept free of creosote (clean before birds return from wintering grounds) as creosote build-up increases the likelihood of nest detachment from the chimney wall. The chimney damper should be kept closed during the nesting season to prevent swifts from entering the building (Kyle and Kyle 1999).
Monitoring Requirements: Large numbers of individuals can be captured in traps set atop chimneys after the birds have entered to roost. Birds are trapped the following morning as they leave the roost to forage (Bowman 1952, Lowery 1943). This type of disturbance invariably results in roost abandonment by swifts (Paul and Georgean Kyle, pers. comm.). Therefore, it is recommended that capture/banding operations at roosts be conducted in fall only and carefully timed to coincide with the end of the season when swifts are likely to leave soon to migrate southward (Paul and Georgean Kyle, pers. comm.). Nesting individuals can be captured in chimneys by scooping birds into a can tied to the end of a rope (Fischer 1958). Banding at nesting sites has to be carefully timed to prevent abandonment. Young should be banded before their eyes open (12-14 days of age) or they may emerge from the nest site prematurely. Banding of adults should be conducted when young are 7-10 days old. If disturbed sooner, adults may abandon the nest (Paul and Georgean Kyle, pers. comm.). Annual quantitative trapping of large flocks of fall migrants could be used to track population trends through time.
Management Research Needs: Determining trends in the use of chimney screening and the construction of new homes having chimneys with rough interior surfaces would be useful in assessing breeding habitat availability. Need to study winter ecology, determine the influence of flying insect abundance and unseasonably cold or prolonged wet weather on reproductive success, and research design and construction of artificial nest sites. Need to identify important factors that regulate populations, including any impact the use of insecticides may have on reproductive success or survival.
Biological Research Needs: Much information is still lacking on a variety of physiological, behavioral, and ecological aspects of the biology of this species. Although some data are available on thermoregulation, the metabolism of Chimney Swifts has not been studied. Radiotelemetry of free-living birds could monitor body temperatures and provide answers to the questions of how often Chimney Swifts enter torpor under natural conditions, how this is influenced by food deprivation, and how much energy is conserved by roosting in a closely packed mass. Nothing is known of the nutrition and energetics of this swift. The physiology and control of its migratory behavior is unstudied. Patterns of dispersal from natal sites, survivorship of first-year birds, and records of lifetime reproductive success are largely unknown. Winter ecology needs study (Steeves, et. al. 2014). Research potential measures to prevent further population declines. Assess threats in South America (Birdlife International, 2014).
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Swifts

Use Class: Breeding
Subtype(s): Nest Site
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of historical breeding, or current and likely recurring breeding, at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of one or more breeding pairs in appropriate habitat. Be cautious about creating element occurrences for observations that may represent single breeding events outside the normal breeding distribution.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance is an arbitrary value intended to balance the high mobility of these birds against the need for occurrences that are not impractically large for conservation purposes.

Foraging ranges from breeding site cover at least several square kilometers, often much larger. White-throated Swifts: at one site not observed more than 2 kilometers from breeding cliffs, but at another site seen up to 15 kilometers away (Ryan and Collins 2000).

Breeding site fidelity often strong. White-throated Swift: few data, but individuals often faithful to traditional nest sites; high degree of site tenacity by flocks to breeding sites (Dobkin et al. 1986).

Date: 10Sep2004
Author: Cannings, S., and G. Hammerson

Use Class: Migratory stopover
Subtype(s): Roost site
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Any traditional roosting site and associated feeding area used during migration. Evidence of recurring presence of individuals (including historical); and potential recurring presence at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of 25 birds in appropriate habitat. Occurrences should be locations where the species is resident for some time during the appropriate season; it is preferable to have observations documenting presence over at least 7 days annually. Be cautious about creating element occurrences for observations that may represent single events.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance somewhat arbitrary; occurrences defined primarily by large congregations of individuals, rather than distinct populations.
Date: 15Apr2002
Author: Cannings, S.

Use Class: Staging
Subtype(s): Roost site
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Any traditional roosting site and associated feeding area used after the breeding season and before migration. Evidence of recurring presence of individuals (including historical); and potential recurring presence at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of 25 birds in appropriate habitat. Occurrences should be locations where the species is resident for some time during the appropriate season; it is preferable to have observations documenting presence over at least 7 days annually. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single events.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance somewhat arbitrary; occurrences defined primarily by large congregations of individuals; e.g. roosting concentrations of up to 500 or more Vaux's Swifts (Bull and Blumton 1997).
Date: 15Apr2002
Author: Cannings, S.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 27Feb2014
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Jue, Sally S.
Management Information Edition Date: 28Jun2000
Management Information Edition Author: PALIS, J: REVISIONS BY S. CANNINGS
Management Information Acknowledgments: The author thanks Paul and Georgean Kyle for their review and input. Support for the preparation of this abstract was provided by the U.S. Air Force Arnold Engineering Development Center through The Nature Conservancy's Tennessee Field Office and Wings of the Americas program.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 17Mar1994
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): HAMMERSON, G. AND J. PALIS

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Steeves, Tanner K., Shannon B. Kearney-McGee, Margaret A. Rubega, Calvin L. Cink and Charles T. Collins. 2014. Chimney Swift (Chaetura pelagica), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online:http://bna.birds.cornell.edu.bnaproxy.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/646

    doi:10.2173/bna.646


  • Alabama Breeding Bird Atlas 2000-2006 Homepage. 2009. T.M. Haggerty (editor), Alabama Ornithological Society. Available at http://www.una.edu/faculty/thaggerty/BBA%20website/Index.htm.

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