A Continent-wide Chimney Swift Roost Monitoring Project


September 8, 2001

Reading, PA:  Location: Reading High School, N. 13th Street, Reading, PA

About 5,000 Chimney Swifts, give or take 1000. I tried to count them going into the chimney, but there were too many of them entering together and it got too dark to count well, so I ended up counting
several hundred and estimating the rest, hence the relatively inaccurate number. I am fairly sure that all the swifts that were coming to roost were already there when I left. As best I could tell, almost all the swifts had arrived and were swirling around before any of them entered the chimney. (The view from behind the building is very good and makes it easy to see more birds arriving.) This building is the local high school, which is huge, taking up most of two blocks. It has two chimneys, one of which has a screen on the top. The swifts are all using the other one, which is a very large square chimney that sticks up maybe 10 or 15 feet above the top of the building. It is on the edge of the city, on the side of Mt Penn, with a large amount of wooded parkland immediately behind it and the whole city stretching out in front of and below it. The weather today was clear and sunny. Two Common Nighthawks and one unidentified bat were seen as well.

DESCRIPTION OF SITE:  Town street scape looking west.
            WEATHER:   Wind:    Clam / Temperature:  72 to 70 Deg. F / Sky:  Clear.
            MISCELLANEOUS:  Sited only one swift entering a small domestic chimney. Other swifts
                                                flew out of sight.  No swifts entered the old chimney  that had been
                                                reported to have been a previous roosting site.

Chapel Hill, NC:  Site:  Chimney of US. Post Office corner of Franklin and Henderson Streets, downtown, Chapel Hill, N.C. (this is a well-known local Swift site so won't be surprised if other folks report on it).
Date/Time: 9-8-01  7:45 pm - 8:05 pm (last Swift in)
Number:  very ballpark figure: 1000 (could've easily been more)
Weather:  clear cloudless evening ~75 degrees F.

Kernersville, SC:  Count:  1,130
Location:            Glenn High School
                            Union Cross Road
                            Kernersville NC 27284
Time:                   7:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. (EDT)
Weather:              Clear and 76 degrees, no wind

School is situated in the country, surrounded by farms (mostly tobacco) and a few houses.  Interstate 40 is less than 1/2 mile away.  Heavy traffic on road passing in front of school.

School buildings are brick with flat roofs, 2 chimneys.  1 very tall, one shorter.  The tall one is the one being used.  Other one is ignored.  The tall one has some sort of wire caging coming up out of the middle.  The swifts seem to drop down around the edge of it and occasionally cling to the wire before dropping in.

Intently watching chimney swifts drop in while the others are still swirling surely does give me a supreme case of vertigo!!!!!  I think I probably underestimated just to be on the safe side.  When I first arrived and glanced at the flock, my initial reaction was that there were probably about
500.  When I began counting, I reached 500 in a hurry and kept right on going.

Kearney, MO:  Kearney, Middle School, 301 S. Grove Kearney, Mo. 64060.  At least 1500 Chimney Swifts entered the very large chimney on the school starting at about 8:10 P.M. ( this may be a low number).  Weather: very cloudy Temperature: 66 degrees F

I filmed the swifts circling and going in. This school is located in downtown Kearney. It was built in 1920. The swifts have been using this very large chimney during migration ever sense anyone
can remember.

Baltimore City, MD:  # 4,478 counted  at Mill Center chimney, Darby St. between Chestnut and Elm, above Jones Falls river,  Baltimore city, Md.  old renovated Mill.  75 degrees, light breeze, clear night / started gathering 7:00 / started entering 7:15 / finished  about 7:55

New Waverly, TX:  #2 chimney swifts: 7:15 pm central time / Hwy 150 east of New Waverly TX
residential masonry chimney

Kewaunee, WII went to observe swifts at a location given me as an active chimney swift roost a number of years ago.  The site was a tall chimney of an old brewery.  The observations made were as follows:
            TIME: 1900 to 1945
            LOCATION:  Milwaukee and Ellis Streets  Kewaunee, Wisconsin

San Marcos, TX: 
 I watched 4 chimney swifts enter the chimney of my home. It was 8:00PM and it was slightly overcast. I live at 110 Algarita, San Marcos, TX 78666.

I had 3 return last spring and I know they had babies as I heard lots of racket in July, but only 4 birds in there now.

Easton, MD Location:   Corner of Goldsborough Street and Turner's Lane, Easton MD 21601 (close to the center of downtown Easton MD)
Site Description:  A single chimney, but with three openings, on top of a fairly old house (three story) that now is being used by some business venture.   
Chimney Swifts seen entering the chimney:   102
Details:  First entry - 7:35 pm / Last entry  - 7:48 pm
Note:  There are several chimneys in this town that are used by the Chimney Swifts, so the visitors
           seen in the sky do not all come into this site.

Haverlock, NC:  Old abandoned school chimney.  Site is old and long established.  Lots of food this year with a good amount of rain -- also good year for Purple Martins.

Tualtin, OR:  9 Vaux's Swift circling above residential area chimney at Ibach Road, Tualatin, Oregon

Oak Ridge, TN:  Number of swifts counted - 1250 / time: 8pm EST
location: School Administration Bldg, New York Ave, Oak Ridge TN 37830
description: old school building with large chimney (brick), built in the 40's
weather: clear, near 80 degrees F
other: Oak Ridge is a rather unique town, built in the 40's - all houses had chimneys; many swifts here.

Abita Springs, LA:  I counted at 7 to 7:30PM and there were only  7 that entered our chimney (Probably just the family). We did have about 20 birds in the beginning of August this year. We really miss not having a large group roosting but the up side is I won't have as much mess to clean this fall.

72029 Kustenmacher Rd.
Abita Springs, La.
Rural residence on 8 acres bordering the Abita River.
Temp High 80's and partly cloudy

Next year I will get a camera installed in early February and hope we can get more accurate data.

Elkton, VA:   I counted swifts entering a chimney of the Thrift & Shop building in Elkton from 1932-1953. The total count was 206. The weather was clear, light breeze, 74 degrees F.

Chapel Hill, NC:  I observed 365 chimney swifts entering a chimney in a home in the downtown area of Chapel Hill, NC beginning at 7:30 pm and ending at 8:05 pm. It was Sat. evening, Sept 8th. It was a clear to partly cloudy sky and warm temps. I am a member of New Hope Audubon in Chapel Hill.

Auburn, AL:  With my two children, I conducted a chimney swift count on the campus of Auburn University in Auburn, AL on the evening of Sept 8.  We estimated that 160 Chimney Swifts were circling a large brick chimney on campus preparing to roost at dusk.  I hope this is useful.

Annandale, VA:  Annandale High School, Medford Dr., Annandale, VA 22003. Counts are based on approximate numbers seen entering a tall chimney on the roof of the school.  The school is 3 stories...the chimney is approximately 50 feet high from the roof of the school. I did not have gauges to accurately track air temperature or wind speed.  7:45 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Weather:  about 78 degrees F, humid, minimal clouds, light winds
Approximate count:  615

September 9, 2001

Morehead City, NC:  Old abandoned school chimney.  Site is old and long established.  Lots of food this year with a good amount of rain.  7:43 pm -- +400 birds.

Lancaster, PA:  Weather: Fair skies, 80F, Winds - South, 5 mph / Time: 7:40 to 7:50 p.m. / No. of Chimney Swifts: 750 / Location: Lancaster Catholic High School  650 Juliette Ave. Lancaster, PA 17601