Black Swifts: The Poster Bird for Climate Change

Black swifts are a bird species considered at highest risk of endangerment due to climate change. They only nest near or behind waterfalls that persist throughout the year. Persistent waterfalls are those fed by melting snowfields and glaciers rather than just spring rains.

Glacier is incredibly rich in the number of waterfalls it holds; it is thought that many of these support nesting black swifts. Without additional resources, however, few waterfalls are inspected each year because most require backcountry travel. Glacier National Park currently boasts more than half (nine) of all known black swift nest sites in Montana. By locating additional nest sites, biologists can initiate monitoring of these colonies to ensure they are stable and do not require further protection.