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COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Chimney Swift in Canada

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COSEWIC
Assessment Summary

Assessment Summary – April 2007

Common name:
Chimney Swift

Scientific name:
Chaetura Pelagica

Status:
Threatened

Reason for designation:
The Canadian population of this species has declined by almost 30% over the last three generations (13.5 years) and the area it occupies has declined by a third over the same time period. The estimated Canadian population is about 12 000 individuals. Many aerial insectivores, including this species, swallows and nighthawks, have suffered population declines throughout the Americas over the past 30 years. The causes for these widespread declines are unknown but likely involve impacts to insect populations through pesticide use and habitat loss. Of this species group, the current species has had the most serious known decline, probably because of the steadily decreasing number of suitable chimneys that the swifts use for nesting and roosting. Very few natural sites (large hollow trees) exist and current forest management regimes make it unlikely that many more will be available in the future. The species also experiences significant mortality when hurricanes cross migratory paths; this could become a more important source of population loss if the frequency of these storms increase in the future as some climate models suggest.

Occurrence:
Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland

Status history:
Designated Threatened in April 2007. Assessment based on a new status report.