Community conservation event

Toronto SwiftWatch U of T Blitz


Toronto SwiftWatch is undertaking a survey of the chimney swift population at UofT and we are looking for some students to help out on June 20th, 8-9:30 pm.

As their natural nesting sites in old growth trees were lost to deforestation, chimney swifts adapted to live primarily in old chimneys, and are now found primarily in cities. Since the 1960s their population has declined by over 90 percent and they are now considered a threatened species and protected under SARA. TorontoSwiftWatch is a Bird Studies Canada program that relies on volunteer citizen scientists to locate chimneys that are being used as nesting sites by swifts in order to guide and inform conservation efforts for this fascinating species.

Toronto SwiftWatch is organizing a full survey of chimney swift habitat at UofT, but in order to do this we need volunteers. We are looking for people to join us at 8 pm on June 20th at the North East corner of King’s College Circle, where you will be assigned a particular chimney to watch. If we are lucky we should see swifts circling around some of these chimneys before they enter to nest for the night. Those chimneys can then be recorded as part of a Toronto wide effort to catalog chimney swift habitat. This is really a remarkable sight and part of an important conservation effort. We hope you will join us!

For more information about Toronto SwiftWatch, please contact coordinator Rebecca Elbourne at or check out the Bird Studies Canada website:

SCB-TO is posting this on behalf of Toronto Swiftwatch.


SCB Goes Rouge Pollinator Project: Round 2

Our 2nd field season begins!


With support from Rouge Park, we are now beginning our 2nd field season. We spent last Thursday setting up our pan traps on 14 sites in Rouge Park, which is soon to be Canada’s first urban national park. We are continuing to develop a pollinator diversity baseline and are also asking the question, ‘how do pollinators respond to different vegetation communities’. Our sampling design allows us to gain insights into how restoration activities on park lands contribute to diversity in pollinators.

The presence of native pollinators is crucial to the success of park restoration and ecosystem sustainability.  They provide the ecosystem service of pollinating native plants which provide food and shelter for other native animals like songbirds and small mammals. In recent years, some pollinator species have shown rapid declines.  The Rusty-patched Bumblebee, for example, went from being the 4th most common species in southern Ontario to the rarest in just a few decades.

Many thanks to all of our volunteers past and present!