A Continent-wide Chimney Swift Roost Monitoring Project


Holland, MI

128  -   9:10 - 9:22 pm 8/6/10 14 E. 7th St. Restaurant Stone chimney, 30 ft x 30 in. round
65  -  9:00 - 9:15 pm 8/8/10 Van Raalte at 13th St. Warehouse Brick chimney, 70 ft x 3 ft sq.

This year the Swifts are using several chimneys around town with relatively low numbers in each.
We are hoping that they will begin to congregate in one or two with larger numbers as the days go on.

Dave Benedict

North Carolina

Info on the school chimney at West Carteret High School, Morehead City, NC - just talked to the school again and the county office and have learned that the chimney is not capped; however, for the first time they ran the boilers this spring and summer and there was an updraft of hot air. This was done to dry out the school building and will be their protocol from now on out. So this chimney will not be a favorable site for swifts in the future. They will also not maintain the brick work on the chimney because of the expense and eventually the chimney will be torn down and replaced with a more practical system in their view.

New Bern: modest estimate of 500 plus swifts. This is the second oldest town in NC and this downtown area is wrapped up with old chimneys attached to warehouses, hotel, churches, other buildings. I went downtown only and the skies are wrapped up with birds - there is no telling how many are there, not even considering out in the country and residential areas. I observed several sites downtown - First Centinary Presby. Church 300; small office building with 20 ft chimney attached, about 45; the balance of the birds flying over houses and areas that I could not find the roosts. I have not been able to get anyone to help me count any of the areas I count, but I have a positive feeling about the numbers everywhere I've been. Construction of new homes continues with no chimneys, but there are still lots of chimneys left that are good roosting sites, and obviously there are still good nesting sites too.

Beaufort, NC - third oldest town. 200 birds in various locations, but cannot determine where the roosts are.
Overall this has been a very productive year for insectivores with lots of rain. Martins and swallows have done amazing.

Sept. is usually the month of storms and I've never been able to get a count for you during the designated days, but I'll keep my eyes open for swifts throughout that month and will report anything unusual to you.
Keep up the good work!

Douglass Swanson

Joplin, MO

I counted 435 Chimney Swift go into Joplin Missouri's North Middle School, this evening, from 8:14 pm to 8:32 pm.  Joplin, Jasper County, (southwest) MO.

Larry Herbert

Girard, KS

Count: 14 swifts
Time: 8:15 to 8:45 p.m. Central time
Date: Aug. 8, 2010
LOCATION: Corner of Carbon & St John streets, Girard KS in old residential building near 47 Hwy
Weather: 94 degrees, clear, still

Martha Price

Zebulon, GA

A fellow photographer/birding friend of mine and I went to Zebulon, Georgia, on August 16, 2010, to view the chimney swift roosting spectacle that the owner of the property had reported to my friend.

It started with a handful of swifts arriving at about 7pm, but by 8:15pm the numbers grew to approximately 300-400. By about 8:30pm the swarm had organized into a giant clockwise rotation to the left of a concrete silo. It was like a swift tornado! And finally at about 8:50 the "signal" was given and the swifts started to enter the silo, with the sky falling silent by 8:55.

This truly was an amazing and thrilling experience for me! While this did not take place on an official Swift Night Out, I thought you might be interested in the report nonetheless.

All the best to you and thank you so much for your conservation efforts for these fascinating birds. I hope to contribute to this effort by building a swift tower in our backyard in the near future.

Dawn Vornholt

Houston, TX

Chimney Swifts in Houston and Sugar Land continue to remind me that nature is variable and can not always be predicted!

Swift numbers have been increasing for the last month as they gather in large post breeding roosts. We are also starting to see swifts migrating south through our area.

At Whole Foods we counted 367 swifts Tuesday evening, 8/17. We counted 369 swifts at Pershing on Tuesday. Last year all the swifts were at Pershing in August. The two years prior to that they were at Whole Foods in August. Now this year they are split between the two locations!

On Monday, 8/16, there were 218 swifts at St Paul's.

The Chimney Swifts in Sugar Land have been amazing to watch. They continue to roost at Lakeview Elementary School (314 Lakeview Drive, Sugar Land , TX 77498). Mary Anne Weber and I counted over 2000 swifts Friday evening. The interesting observation Friday was that the swifts were entering the tower to roost at 6:45 pm when Mary Anne arrived at the school. Typically swifts start entering the tower about sunset unless it is a rainy day. Sunset on Friday was 7:57 pm and the sky was clear. About 300 swifts entered the tower before 8 pm.

Lakeview is a fun place to watch swifts. The chimney is shorter and easier to see than most of the sites that we monitor. It is also amazing to see the large quantity of swifts. Lakeview is near Oyster Creek so we typically see other birds flying overhead.

Our Sugar Land Swift Night Out Event will be this Wednesday, August 25th at 7:30 PM at Lakeview Elementary School (314 Lakeview Drive, Sugar Land , TX 77498). The event is sponsored by Houston Audubon Society, the Nature Discovery Center, and Whole Foods Market.

Pam Smolen

Portland, OR

I counted ~140 C. vauxii going in the chimney at Chapman Elementary School last night (Sunday, August 22nd, stating around 8:05 pm). The previous Sunday, there no swifts in the area. Judging from the amount this probably was the third or fourth day of them going into the chimney.

Sat 4th Sept 2010: No Hawk or Peregrine tonight. 1928 started going in spurts and ended at 2007. total: ~3400

Sun 5th Sept 2010: Hawk and Peregrine tonight; both really bothering swifts with the hawk getting two. 1942 started going in but stopped due to raptors. At 2003 swifts started to go in again and were done at 2012. Total ~3500.

Mon 6th Sept 2010: Cooper's Hawk tonight but no Peregrine; Hawk got two again. Swifts started going in at 1954 (hawk was on the lip from 1941 until then) and were done at 2000. They were going in at a rate of 15 to 20 per second tonight. total ~4350.

Keith Robillard

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