A Nation-wide Chimney Swift Roost Monitoring Project


Beaverton, OR

Just found your website and would like to report on our swifts.

I'm located in rural farmland west of Beaverton Oregon. Our house was built in the 1970's and had a brick chimney.

For several years now we've had swifts in our chimney each summer. We have a chimney cleanout door in our garage, so the last few springs after we've stopped using our wood stove for heat I put put cardboard and paper in the chimney through the cleanout door in an attempt to keep the swifts from getting into our wood stove. Also makes cleaning up easier after they have migrated.

Seems that each year we get a couple swifts in the wood stove and we just catch them in a paper bag and then I go up on the roof and release them back into the chimney.

Anyway this is the first year that we've actually made an effort to watch to swifts roost at night. In the past we had thought we had a half dozen or so swifts.

Sunday evening (Sept 21) around 7:15 pm I saw 50 or so swifts go into the chimney.

Monday evening (Sept 22) around 7:10 pm my wife and I watched again. It was interesting watching the flying birds gather, circling around the house and fields. The longer they circled the more and more birds joined the group. Finally, one decided to enter the chimney and almost all the other spiraled into the chimney. There were a few stragglers going in until there were only two left flying around. They continued flying around looking like they had wondered where everyone had gone! Pretty soon another couple joined them and later another pair joined the group until we had a group of six flying around and we were wondering if they were migrating swifts that didn't know about our chimney and didn't know where to go. But eventually, they entered our chimney one by one until we saw no more swifts flying around. There must have been 50 or 60 of them last night. I'm not sure how anyone can really count them as when they start going in the chimney there are too many to count.

Won't be able to watch them tonight, but will watch for them again on Wednesday. I'm curious as to how long we'll have this many and when they will move south.

George Best

Pittsburg, KS

Our Sperry-Galligar Audubon chapter makes an evening of counting Chimney Swifts each fall but this year we got in on the tail end of Hurricane Ike and our pre-selected date of October 13th. was a wash-out. So we
decided to have members try to make a count of our usual roosts during the following week and turn them in when completed. Not surprisingly the dates and numbers were staggered - with Westside School getting
counted more than one time. Below are dates, places, numbers and names of the observers for that site. The weather has been absolutely beautiful the past week - mostly clear and about 80 degrees most days.
Sorry to have missed the count window. General end time for the counts was about 8:00 P.M. - not everyone reported times! We are in the Central DST.
September 15, 2008 - First Methodist Church, Pittsburg, KS - 175 - Liz &
Bob Mangile
September 17, 2008 - Reliable Industries Building, Pittsburg, KS - 12
birds - Julie & John Hartley
September 18, 2008 - Lakeside School, Pittsburg, KS - 5 birds - Martha
Price & Carolyn Chips
September 16, 2008 - Westside School, Pittsburg, KS - 174 birds -
observer Bart Lawson
September 18, 2008 - Westside School, Pittsburg, KS - 158 birds - Sheila
September 20, 2008 - Westside School, Pittsburg, KS - 338 birds -
Martha Price

One interesting note is that Sheila Hensley lives near the Westside School and she has been counting on several nights for about two weeks and the numbers varied from a few birds to a few hundred. She has
caught the attention of the neighborhood and they, both youngsters and adults, sit on the school's parking lot in lawn chairs with her and watch the Chimney Swifts go to roost. She has developed a consciousness
in the neighborhood. We hope to get an article about her adventure in our Chapter's Newsletter.

Bob Mangile

Southern Pines, NC

  • Number of swifts counted 800, 1500
  • Time (and time zone) 7:50 Eastern, 7:55 Eastern
  • Date 9/9/08, 9/11/08
  • Location Southern Pines Elementary School
  • Address: city, state/province Southern Pines, NC
  • Broad description of the site, e.g. school, warehouse, residence, Chimney Swift Tower, etc. School
  • Weather conditions may also be reported. Cloudy with a chance of a thunderstorm ~80 degrees

We counted several other locations during the week prior (9/8-9/12), do you want that data as well? I realize we missed the official count period, but there were similar numbers at that location on the 15th as well. Let me know if you need any additional data.

Brady Beck

Abbeville, AL

We counted 18 birds on the night of Sept 12th. The birds departed out chimney the 18th or 19th. We were not home those evenings until after dark, so I am not certain which day they left.

We live in  Abbeville, AL 36310 in Henry County AL just off the Chattahoochee River, slightly north of the Walter F. George Lock and Dam, on Walter F. George Lake/Lake Eufaula.

Sara Jernigan

Austin, TX

We did have " A Swift Night Out" on Friday September 12. It was a beautiful evening with an unusual sky showing storm clouds gathering far away. Unlike August, our swifts seemed happy and played for a long time around our tower. They acted like they were reluctant to end the fun. Eventually we counted 15 swifts entering our tower and one who tried but failed. We could hear him hit the tower before he flew off. A short time later one swift left the tower and flew in the direction of the swift who failed to enter. We do not know if these two birds eventually returned. It was well past sunset when we left our watch.

Marie Laing

Wichita Falls, TX

Sept 14 Wichita Falls TX 7:30-8:00 pm
total Chimney Swift- 520
Rider High School complex
corner of Lindale and Cypress
As of Sept 29 we still have 5 swifts circling around our yard every night at dusk.

Terry McKee

Fairfax, VA 

Saturday night Sept 27 I was delayed in my arrival at church (Truro) in OldTown Fairfax (Fairfax, VA) by the chippering calls of swarming chimney swifts audible from the parking lot. I followed them to the
Juvenile District Court where 300-400 birds swirled into the chimney starting a little before 7 PM. I had not known about this roost before.

Fred Atwood