Chimney Swift Monitoring Form

Before using this form, please print this PDF form. It has has three pages.

  • The first page has all of the input fields. You will need a copy of this for each chimney you monitor.
  • The next two pages have codes, tips and a suggested shorthand for recording and reporting observations. The contents of these two pages are repeated below.

Please submit one form for each chimney.

Do you want to change your report? If you submit more than one form for the same date and chimney, only the most recent one is used.

Coding Rules and Tips from Birds Canada

Wind (Beaufort Scale)

0Calm, smoke rises vertically
1Light air, smoke drifts
2Light breeze, wind felt on face
3Gentle breeze, small twigs move
4Moderate breeze, small branches move
5Fresh breeze, small trees sway
6Strong breeze, large branches in motion
7Near gale, whole trees moving

Precipitation Options

None, Rain, Hail, Trace /Occasional Rain, Thunderstorms

Cloud Cover (%)

0Clear
110%
220%
330%
440%
550%
660%
770%
880%
990%
10Overcast
11Fog

Also adapted from Birds Canada

  • Start the survey 30 min before sunset; end 30 min after sunset or until it is too dark to see.
  • Survey a safe location in a public area.
  • Under “Net Number of Swifts Entering Chimney”, record the estimated number of swifts in the chimney at the end of your watch.
  • Individual birds may try a few “practice runs” before they enter the chimney. Do not count the birds that dive down but do not enter the chimney.
  • Mentally “grab” groups of 5, 10, or 20 swifts as they enter the chimney. Counting large numbers of swifts can be challenging – do your best!
  • During gaps in activity, tell your monitoring partner your latest subtotal (without taking your eyes off the chimney) and restart counting from zero.
  • Have fun! Thank you for helping to monitor these special birds.

Suggested Shorthand Recording for Entries and Exits (Ins and Outs)

The time of any entries and exits is written as H:MM, between 6:00 and 9:59.

  • If the number of entries is zero, the number is omitted.
  • The number of exits is negative. If zero, the number is omitted.

7:32 1

7:33 -1

7:45 2 -1

7:50 6

8:03 4

8:15 1

The original format is still acceptable.

7:32 1in

7:33 1out

7:45 2 in 1 out

7:50 6 in

8:03 4 in

8:15 1 in