A SWIFT NIGHT OUT
2007
A Continent-wide Chimney Swift Roost Monitoring Project
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INDIVIDUAL REPORTS

South Carolina

We did a trial run of "dependable sights in Spartanburg. Friday four watchers gathered and soon a few Chimney Swifts flew over. Although 810 swifts flew over at once and smaller groups fluttered around...only 5 went down the Houston Elementary School chimney. We had had thunder showers in the afternoon, but skies cleared and were only partly cloudy at dusk. So Saturday we tried the Main Street apartment. Two swifts circled in soon after we arrived, then more came and we were encouraged...but none went in the chimney in the half hour following sunset. We walked the area, but didn't see any promising chimneys near by. So we're still recruiting teams for this week-end and checking chimneys this week to be ready...but wonder what gives???? Sarah Campbell


Galena, KS

Last night, Sunday evening, 9-9-07, I reported 515 CHSW at Liberty Elem. School,  Galena Kansas.
Unknown to me a teacher at the school, Linda Phipps, was counting them also.  Linda was on the other side of the building!  She had introduced me to this chimney several weeks ago. Her count was 554.  Please change the observer and count at Liberty School to "Linda Phipps - 554"
instead of "Lawrence Herbert - 515."


Houston, TX

On 09/07/2007, Debbie Burnett and I counted 110 Chimney Swifts at the Sutton Elementary School, 7402 Albacore, Houston, Tx. 77074. Central Time Zone between 7:30 p.m. and ending at 8:02 p.m. The location is an old incinerator chimney at Sutton Elementary School directly across the street from my home. Weather clear about 85 degrees.

Often, I watch the swifts as I walk in the evenings, and constantly hear their cheery chatter as they fly overhead my yard. I pull up a chair and grab my binocs and enjoy the view from a front row seat. I reported once several years ago, and will try to report more often. This colony has been here since I moved to my home in 1993.

Although not previously reported, I also counted 105 swifts on Friday 09/01/07 and 114 swifts on Saturday 09/08/2007.   Billie Strickland


Bryn Athyn, PA

Number of Chimney Swifts = 400 -500
Sunday 9/9/07, 7:20 - 7:50 EST
School Chimney
Weather - Warm, cloudy


Delaware, OH

Hello Everyone, I must pose a question after I report the following observations:  On Friday and Saturday nights, I counted Chimney Swifts entering the brick chimney at the National Guard Armory in Delaware, Ohio.

The 7 September 2007 count was routine with temperatures in the high seventies under partly cloudy skies. Between 19:43 and 20:17, 720 swifts entered the chimney.

On 8 September, I had returned from a Fall Warbler Symposium held near Lake Erie to arrive at the parking lot at Tim Horton's Restaurant to watch the armory's chimney at 19:36. A heavy, steady rain was falling and since I saw no birds, I left to buy a newspaper. I returned at 19:44 to find that hundreds of swifts had arrived.  During a steady downpour with lightning, I sat in my idling car with the windshield wipers running and counted 233 swifts as they entered the chimney between 19:44 and 19:58. I estimate that an additional 100 birds circled the chimney, but left to roost elsewhere. I stayed until 20:15 to make sure that no new birds showed up. The storm made for an early, dark night and it is possible that swifts entered before my arrival at 19:36.

On 9 September, I journeyed to the small village of Galena to count swifts entering the brick chimney there at the United Methodist Church. Three vehicles of watchers arrived to count ONLY SEVEN BIRDS entering the large chimney between 20:00 - 20:11. The temperature approached eighty degrees under partly
cloudy skies. Hundreds of swifts were in the area, however. Dick Phillips noticed that scores of birds were entering one of four brick chimneys at the same two-story home southwest of the church. After watching many swifts disappear into the chimney, he started counting to record an additional 189. Dick estimates that
300 or more swifts must have entered the chimney.

Why did swifts snub the popular church chimney? I offer the following hypothesis: Since the chimney shelters hundreds of swifts nightly, guano deposits must be rather deep there. Heavy rains during the previous several days and nights might have reacted with the guano to percolate ammonia from ammonium
hydroxide, causing a gaseous micro environment that became intolerable to the birds. From experience, I know that ammonia's stench is common in American Kestrel nest boxes when nestlings are present. Also, research has revealed that when compared to other avian species, swifts have a keen sense of smell.
How this hypothesis could be tested was the conversation between two retired science teachers before we went our separate ways.   Swift on, and keep your guano dry.  Dick Tuttle


Spartanburg, SC

Chimney Swift count this past weekend
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  • Number of swifts counted 7
  • Time (and time zone) 7:52-8:17 pm
  • Date Friday Sept 7, 2007
  • Location 1475 Skylyn Dr
  • Address: city, state/province Spartanburg, SC 29307
  • Broad description of the site, e.g. school, warehouse, residence, Chimney Swift Tower, etc. Elementary School
  • Weather conditions may also be reported. 84F high 60F low. Partly Cloudy
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  • Number of swifts counted 9
  • Time (and time zone) 7:39-8:10pm
  • Date Saturday Sept 8, 2007
  • Location 1475 Skylyn Dr
  • Address: city, state/province Spartanburg, SC 29307
  • Broad description of the site, e.g. school, warehouse, residence, Chimney Swift Tower, etc. Elementary School
  • Weather conditions may also be reported. 82F High 57F low. Clear
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  • Number of swifts counted 6
  • Time (and time zone) 7:53-8:07pm
  • Date Sunday Sept 9, 2007
  • Location 1475 Skylyn Dr
  • Address: city, state/province Spartanburg, SC 29307
  • Broad description of the site, e.g. school, warehouse, residence, Chimney Swift Tower, etc. Elementary School
  • Weather conditions may also be reported. 86F High 55F low Clear


Shepherdstown, WV

A total of 470 swifts were counted entering a chimney between 7:01 p.m. and 7:53 p.m. EDT, September 9, 2007.

About 20 swifts entered the chimney during the first 44 minutes. The remaining 450 entered in continuous groups from 7:45 p.m. until 7:53 p.m.

The chimney is located on the Shepherd University campus Shepherdstown, WV. The sky was 95% overcast, with no wind, and the temperature was 80F.  -- Elliot Kirschbaum


Travis County, TX

We have a tower that went in last year (14001 Echo Lane, close to Lake Austin down from the low water crossing) and had nesting success this year. At the end of July I saw three swifts enter. I also saw broken egg shells below the nest that had fallen through the vent holes.

I was not in Austin during the August count. Last night I watched, but did not see any swifts. It is entirely possible that I started to late. We went out to dinner and I completely forgot about getting back earlier. However, there was still light out when I started. Is this migration gathering time already and if so is it possible that they have moved to a communal roost?   Dave Kollen

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