A Continent-wide Chimney Swift Roost Monitoring Project


Lancaster, OH

My husband called me outside this evening 09-25-07 to watch the birds flying around in our neighborhood. He says he has been watching them for the past 2 evenings and wasn't sure if they were purple martins or swallows. I have since discovered that they were chimney swifts. My husband and I estimate approximately 70 birds and what a site to watch them fly around like they were feeding then all of a sudden disappear into the chimney of our neighbor's house. We will certainly watch them until they move on. We live in the 800 block of King St in Lancaster Ohio 43130. Please feel free to contact me if you are looking for any further information. I am an avid bird watcher and will certainly enjoy these beautiful birds while they are here.
Sincerely,  Kathy Martin

New Castle, PA

Good evening--- For the past 3 evenings I have been taking a count of the swifts that are entering the chimney across the street from me. During the summer I only ever saw about 4-6 enter the chimney, BUT the past few nights the count has really increased. I imagine they are gathering for their trip south. Last night the count was 222. I was really astounded. They just seemed to keep coming. This is a empty residence on a quiet street in New Castle, PA. Last night there was a full harvest moon, the temp. was about 79 , the sky was clear, and I counted them from 7:20 until about 7:45. By then it was getting quite dark, but was able to see the last one drop in!  Joan L. Warren

Waycross, GA

Date: 9/20/2007

Place: Waycross, GA 31501 Location: Magnolia Court Apartments; block formed by Streets Magnolia, Oneida, Hill, & Forrest; chimney closest to Hill & Oneida Observers: Sheila Willis, June LaRoque

Species: Chimney Swift Total: 888

Bird Entry Time: 7:40 p.m.--7:56 p.m. EDT

Conditions: clear; 80 F.; humidity 80%; wind SW, 5-10 mph; sunset 7:29 p.m.

EDT Site: An apartment complex (2 stories arranged around a courtyard with pool) in a residential area; the roost is in an unused 60ft tall, 7ft by 7ft staggered-sectional brick chimney formerly used with a boiler for steam-heating. The complex was built in the 1940's. It has been used in some previous years as a roost of similar or larger size with the largest number being 2,511 birds on 9/18/2005.

NOTE: We had been having frequent late afternoon/early evening rain this month after a severe spring & summer drought. Our maximum use seems to be later in Sept. than for the official count date.

Event: First observer arrived at 7:36 p.m. followed shortly by second observer. Approximately 20 Chimney Swifts were flying & chattering around the chimney having come from the south. At 7:40 p.m. one swift flew into the chimney. Gradually greater numbers of swifts began appearing from different directions & joined the others circling around the spot. Occasionally, small groups would peel off & drop into the chimney. At times, the flying groups would move in unison slightly off-center of the chimney but then return directly overhead. Sometimes the circle diameter would increase. At different intervals the swifts would drop into the chimney until at 7:53 p.m. (dusk) a noticeable decline in numbers descending was noticed and by 7:56 p.m. all birds in the area were inside the chimney. Darkness had fallen and all was quiet.

Sheila Willis, Pres. Okefenokee Bird Club Waycross, GA 31501

Norman, OK

Last Saturday night went to an event in downtown OKC around dusk. I observed a big cloud of Chimney swifts swirling around the Fred Jones Industrial Building at 900 West Main. It's a four storey brick building with a large chimney on the roof. I estimated between 1,000 and 2,000 birds were flying in a tight formation that stayed right over the building as long as I watched, which was about 5 minutes.  I thought it might be a roost site. Thought you might like the information.  Debby Kaspari

East Silver Spring, MD

I have been watching a colony of chimney swifts that nest/roost in an old brick chimney at the East Silver Spring Elementary School (MD zip 20910) for the past 23 years. Construction at the school last summer
drove them away and now the school is making a major addition next summer. I have counted as many as 24 swifts exiting the chimney in the mornings. However this past week I saw a flock of 40 to 50 birds
circling in a cloud over my house. I have been in contact with a number of local environmental groups in the local area about these wonderful little visitors from the Amazon. I have learned a great deal from your
web site and Thank you for providing so much material on the Web.

I have just today learned that a boy scout in Virginia has built a chimney swift tower but will not know if it attracts any swifts until next spring. Several members of the Friends of Sligo Creek have expressed interest in seeing if the Park and Planning Commision of the DC area would permit the construction of chimney swift towers on park lands. We know of at least 3 chimney swift roosting locations in the Silver Spring, MD.  George Lane

Corpus Christi, TX

Our primary observation site is the George Blucher House in Corpus Christi, TX. During the summer, members of the Audubon Outdoor Club, AOC, observed as many as 75 - 100 swifts entering the open chimney of the Blucher House. However, in the weeks leading up to the first count weekend of Aug 10, 11,12 we did not observe any swifts in the area. However, by Sept 10, our only day we could count, we observed 25- 30 swifts entering the chimney. Each Monday evening in Sept, our work night at Blucher Park, we have observed swifts although the numbers decreased each evening.

Our weather in Aug was wet and steamy, for that matter so were the Mondays we worked in Sept, however, the evenings became progressively cooler as the month progressed.

A separate count -- the Hather Street Swifts - using a residential chimney, were consistent, although small in number. Sunday, Aug 12 - 10 to 12 counted. Throughout August I noticed a continuing decrease in numbers until Sept 9 only 4 swifts remained. No swifts were observed after Sept 18. However, after a very good rain on Sept 29, I was surprised to see approx 12 swifts at the site. I expect they will leave this week, if not already departed.

At the HawkWatch at Hazel Bazemore Park, over 300-500 swifts were seen migrating overhead on Monday Oct. 1. Submitted by Leah Pummill / Audubon Outdoor Club / Corpus Christi, TX

Rockingham, NC

Number of swifts counted: 600

Time (and time zone): 7:25-8:00pm Eastern

Date: September 9, 2007

Location: 113 N Lee Street

Address: city, state/province: Rockingham, NC

Broad description of the site, e.g. school, warehouse, residence, Chimney Swift Tower, etc.: Chimney of a Deli, center of town

Weather conditions may also be reported: Clear, approximately 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Swifts observed the following night in the same location, though fewer (approximately 450). Observed by Erica A. Newman, Wildlife Biologist, Sandhills Wildlife Depot, Hoffman, NC.