A Continent-wide Chimney Swift Roost Monitoring Project


Westfield Center, OH

We were disappointed to go to our traditional count site, the local school, this evening (we were out of town in Aug., and unable to count then) and find 0 chimney swifts. Because we'd also found several hundred at the nearby town's elementary school a few years ago, we headed over there. There were a few chimney swifts in the air, but they were not using the school chimney this year, and we did not succeed in identifying the chimney in use in the short time we had.

We conclude that our school district created barriers to their schools' chimneys as part of their maintenance this past year. And we recognize the added pressure brought on the species by reducing roosting options, as well as that our lives are less touched by wildlife. We will try to assess if we see fewer swifts during the
breeding season next year, due to our local chimney closure, though we probably do not have sufficient data to assess this scientifically.

Helen and Ken Ostermiller
Westfield Center, Ohio

Houston, TX

This week, 9/8, at Pershing we counted 221 swifts. This is down from the 675 counted last week. We counted 10 swifts on 9/8 at Whole Foods.

The St Paul's Swift Night Out on Friday, 9/11, was a great success! The rain held off for 73 people and 346 swifts. Thank you St. Paul's for hosting a wonderful event!

There continued to be several thousand swifts at Sugar Land this past Thursday, 9/10. I will probably count agian this Wednesday or Friday. I will update you when I know when.

We will meet at Pershing and Whole Foods on Tuesday evening about 7:30 pm. Check www.houstonaudubon.org for all the details.

Pam Smolen

Palm Shores, FL

I am sad to report I did not see any Swifts this weekend, although last year they were gone by this time. This was a very strange year for the Swifts. They arrived in our area about 1 1/2 months early. I only noticed 3 to 5 flying at any given time, usually there are more. Two roosted in our chimney every night, but did not produce eggs in the normal amount of time from arrival, about a month later than normal. I did not hear the normal chatter and chirping occurring after the parents have been "bugging" and return to feed the young, so the nest may have been in a different spot this year, as it is a very tall chimney. The nest fell in July and we put a box with the fledglings in it up the chimney, but the birds did not survive. After that time, I did not see any birds flying, nor did I hear them in the chimney at night. Last year was the first time the young actually fledged on their own, as the parents arrived a month early and bred right away, but the parents stayed until early Sept.

We did have an incident with a large swift flying into the house on a mild night when our doors were open and we had company so the lights were all on. I put him outside first, but "he" flew back in, so I then put him up the chimney and barricaded it so he couldn't fly back down and we closed the doors and turned off the outside lighting so as not to attract him. There has also been a large amount of Osprey activity as there is a nest across the highway (about an acre away). They have been seen flying off with squirrels, fish and small birds. We have also had an extremely hot summer with lots of rain and bad thunderstorms, much more so than in other years.

We are located between US 1 and the intra-coastal in Palm Shores, FL. It is a two story residential house. The swifts have been coming here for at 6 years that I have lived here, the house has been here for 9.
We do have another one story house in Stuart Fl adjacent to the intra-coastal, which is only a mile or so from the ocean. When we are down there I noticed a lot more swifts flying, but most homes are 1 story and don't have chimneys for them to roost in so I don't know where they would roost.

Looking forward to seeing our feathered friends back next year.

Susan Johns

Staunton, VA

Dates of count: September 11, 12, and 13
Location of chimney: Central United Methodist Church, corner of Lewis and Beverley Street, Staunton, Virginia 24401
Brick chimney, 5 feet squared
Observers: Jo King, Ed Lawler, Nancy Lawler and Allen Larner
September 11:
1500 Swifts entered chimney from 7:25 to 8:00 pm
Observer: Allen Larner
September 12:
635 swifts entered chimney from 7:41 to 7:57 pm
Observers: Jo King, Ed Lawler, Nancy Lawler
September 13:
1372 swifts entered chimney from 7:27 to 7:56 pm
Observers: Jo King, Ed Lawler, Nancy Lawler
Temperature: high 60's sky-clear

Jo King

Newton, NJ

After releasing the last five of our chimney swifts for the year, I
counted approximately 530 going to roost
Time: 6:45 PM to 7:30 PM on 9/13/09
Location: Hospital in Newton, NJ
Weather: partly cloudy

Giselle Chazotte Smisko

Murray, KY

At 7:25 PM Sept. 13, 2009, in Murray, Ky. , Murray City School building still used by the administration , I observed approximately 80 chimney swifts diving into a chimney. Weather was clear. Sunset was around 7:05. Prior to that hundreds of grackles, cowbirds, and starlings were gathered in and around the trees of the school. I observed only two swifts flying at that time. When the black birds left the swifts began to circle and dive into the chimney.

Melissa Easley

Oil City, PA

August 8, 2009
Location: 7th Street Elementary School, Oil City, PA 16301 (Venango County)
Time: 8:00-8:55 EST
Number: ~250
Weather: partly cloudy
Observers: Gary Edwards and Jim Wilson
Comments: This site is used yearly
September 11, 2009
Location: 7th Street Elementary School, Oil City, PA 16301 (Venango County)
Time: 7:15-8:00 EST
Number: 12
Weather: overcast
Observer: Jim Wilson
Comments: Significantly fewer than last month

Gary Edwards