Chimney Swift Conservation and Threats

Conservation and Threats

The Chimney Swift population declined by 95% between 1968 and 2005. In Canada, the annual rate of decline was 4.04% between 2002 and 2012, with a higher rate of 8.71% in Nova Scotia.

The most likely cause of this decline is the loss and degradation of suitable habitat. Suitable chimneys that provide roosting and breeding sites for these birds are declining as heating regimes change from wood burning to oil and electric heating. Additionally, many modern chimneys now have covers that prevent entry by animals, including swifts.

The industrial use of insecticides on agricultural lands has reduced populations of flying insects in North America, which Chimney Swifts feed upon. Specifically, the use of DDT in the mid-1900s is thought to have negatively affected this species. However, the specific implications of pesticide use on Chimney Swifts remain unclear.

Conservation status of the Chimney Swift both nationally and in Atlantic Canada:

COSEWIC Threatened
SARA Threatened (Schedule 1)
Nova Scotia Endangered