Day 52 (July 19th). Downtown Winnipeg. The Peasant Cookery restaurant and Chimney Swift roost.

There is only 1 Swift species in eastern North America, the Chimney Swift. This is closely related to our Swift in the UK and the two species share many characteristics. The obvious difference between the birds is that Chimney Swifts evolved to breed within the tree trunks of massive trees of which there were many across the continent. When man started “remodelling” the landscape the large trees were felled and the Swifts learnt to use chimneys in factories and private homes. These are now disappearing as heating systems change and factories close and Chimney Swift numbers have declined fast with a reduction of 90% in breeding numbers since 1970 and an estimated population in Canada of 20,000 to 70,000 birds. As in the UK there are people obsessed with watching, counting and conserving this fantastic species. In the hope we could see these birds we’d been in touch with a lady called Amanda who works for the Manitoba Chimney Swift Initiative, run by Nature Manitoba which is based in Winnipeg. She sent the address of a large Swift roost and also a 12 page spreadsheet listing nest sites locations across the province.

On the 19th we had invited Louise, Gary, his two sisters Dawn & Bev and Bev’s husband Pat, himself born in England, to the Peasant Cookery restaurant to thank them for their incredible hospitality. Unbeknown to us Tali had been in touch with Louise and had put a sum behind the bar as a birthday present for Helen & myself.

Clockwise from left: Louise, Helen, Pat, Bev, Dawn, Gary & Andy

We had a fabulous meal and then Gary took us to the Swift roost site across town, arriving as a few small groups of birds were flying past the large chimney of an apartment block. At the car park we met a lady who’d been captivated by the Swifts throughout the season and she sent the video below, taken earlier in the season when numbers were higher. A more professional video (but not filmed in Winnipeg) can be found here. A fabulous end to a lovely day.

One thought on “Day 52 (July 19th). Downtown Winnipeg. The Peasant Cookery restaurant and Chimney Swift roost.

  1. Perfect end to perfect day! Glad it’s all going well. Any news on the boat!

    Sent from my iPhone

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