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Threats and Protection


Threats and Protection

Suspected Threats

  • Declines in swifts' only food source: flying insects

  • Loss of roost and nest sites, as a result of building renovations, forestry practices, and public misconception (mistaken as a health or safety hazard)

  • Nest destruction, and disturbance of adults and young, as a result of chimney sweeping and other maintenance during breeding and migration (between April and September)

  • Weather and climate events, especially hurricanes during fall migration

  • Logging and pesticide use on breeding and wintering grounds

  • Competition from other urban species (European Starlings, Rock Pigeons, raccoons, squirrels) at roost and nest sites



In 2007, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada ( COSEWIC) assessed the Chimney Swift as Threatened, indicating the species is likely to become endangered if nothing is done to reverse the factors causing declines.

The Chimney Swift was added to Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) in 2009, giving it legal protection. It is also protected under the federal Migratory Birds Convention Act. These laws make it an offence to disturb, kill, or collect adults or their young, nests, or eggs.

Chimney Swifts are listed as provincially Threatened in Ontario and Endangered in Nova Scotia.

In the United States, Chimney Swifts are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. However, outside of Canada and the U.S., there is no known protection for Chimney Swifts on their wintering grounds or during migration. Threats to Chimney Swifts in their winter range include intensive logging and burning of forests, and pesticide use.

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