A Continent-wide Chimney Swift Roost Monitoring Project


September 10, 2001

Tyler, TX:  I have found approximately 163 chimney swifts roosting in the Tyler area.  The swifts are roosting at the Cathedral of The Immaculate Conception located at 423 S. Broadway Tyler, Texas.  The birds are roosting in what appears to be a chimney at the church.  The birds were counted on the  evening of September 8th.  Birds were counted from 7:20 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.

Lawrence, KS:  I conducted a count of a roosting flock of Chimney Swifts in Lawrence, Kansas.  The information you asked for is:  2,350 Chimney Swifts counted between 1945 and 2010  at Cordley Elementary School 1837 Vermont Street  Lawrence, Kansas

These swifts were using the school chimney for a roost.  Although I said my count was on 9/9, that was my second attempt.  I tried on 9/8 without realizing how hard it would be to get
a good count.  That first night, I hadn't figured out the right way to estimate them until many were in the chimney.  Hence my second night was the one I did a better job on.  I was
amazed at how many swifts went into that chimney.

It is a large chimney belonging to the oldest grade school in Lawrence.  The weather on my real count night was clear and cool, with temperatures in the low 60s and the wind was calm.

Staunton, VA: 
We met at 7:15 PM EDT on the corner of Augusta and Frederick Streets, downtown Staunton.  We estimate that we saw over 1,000 swifts all told.  Since downtown and the surrounding area has so many suitable chimneys, the one we monitored only had about 100 roosting swifts.  They were all in the chimney by 7:56 PM EDT. 

We had fun and are looking forward to doing it again next year.

Holt, MO: 
7:45 p.m. / About 50 swifts circling the house and towers. At about 8:00 p.m. to 8:10 p.m. 17 swifts went into the new west tower.  None went into the North tower, and I was by myself tonight so I couldn't watch the chimneys behind me.  Outside temp. 76 degrees F.  New west tower 73.8 degrees F.  Both nights were clear skies, no wind and beautiful.  I filmed both nights.

Last year, the greatest # of swifts (80 to 100 in 1 tower) occurred the last part of September.  I hope that happens again this year.

Lockhart, TX:   150 swift circling, only 50 entered.  Others may have gone to Recycling Center, not more than 500 yards away.  4' x 4' chimney with a cover  -  cap with no screen on sides.

Austin, TX:  I watched the chimney at Travis High from 7:45 pm to 8:20 pm on Sept. 10, and was disappointed to see only 2 swifts enter it, and no more than 6 over it at any one time.  (A few days earlier there had been 80 swifts during the same time period.) The weather was mild, humid, little or
no breeze, and the sky mostly covered with high clouds.

Hickory, NCOn the evening of Sept 10 I counted approximately 150 Chimney Swifts roosting in a chimney associated with a former newspaper printing building (now empty) in downtown Hickory, North Carolina at the corner of 2nd AV NW and 3rd ST NW.   This site holds many swifts all summer long.

Frederick, MD:  Sky filled with heavy fast moving clouds bringing rain to the area.....

7:00 am  Swifts ~way~ behind schedule, they were done by 7:15 the day before, but the darker skies

St. Michaels, MD:  On Sept 10 I visited a regular roost site in St. Michaels, MD at St. Mary's Square but there were zero swifts. The weather was rainy but they are there regularly throughout the summer.
They may have moved on already.

Banner Elk, NC:  Campus of Lees-McRae College, Banner Elk, Avery County, North Carolina 28604
Tate Dormitory Stone Chimney:  625 Chimney Swifts
North Carolina Building Stone Chimney:  48 Chimney Swifts
Old Banner Elk Hotel Stone Chimney: 225 Chimney Swifts

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. 7:05 p.m. -- 8:00 p.m.
Weather: about 80 degrees F, humid, overcast, nice breeze
Approximate Count: 1995

So glad to participate!

and/or the blowing wind caused them to start then stop... ( a few that had already gone came back out).    They still had not started to go in by 8:00

I counted 106 from the day before, I was a little late though.  This roost is located in Frederick, MD.  It is in an old stack,  beside a creek right smack in the middle of downtown.  I learned of this count through a friend on my birding forum.  We had such fun watching the Swifts last year so this count was of great interest to us (me & my daughter).

Wichita, KS:  I counted 44 Chimney Swifts coming in to roost in a school chimney. It is Hadley Middle School, 1101 Dougherty, Wichita, KS 67212.  I counted them at 8:00 pm 9/10/2001. The temperature was 72 degrees, a beautiful clear evening.

Driftwood, TX:  Pleasant evening with high clouds -- incredible sunset.  I left the swifts playing around the house and went to the field to stake out the cistern tower.  A total of 9 swifts entered the tower stealthily -- individually, silently and approaching low with a final swoop up and in.

Austin, TX:  A decrease from the previous night's count, 65 birds entered the North Tower.  Two swifts entered the South Tower.

Austin, TX:  I conducted "A Swift Night Out" in Austin on 9/10/01 at the O' Henry Middle School.  It was mostly cloudy and the temperature was very pleasant at about 78 degrees F (light-to-no breeze). 

I arrived at 7:15 p.m. (very early!) to find 2-4 CHSW flying around the area.  At 7:28 (13 min later) there were about 2 dozen swifts present.  At 7:48 (20 min later) there were about 4 dozen swifts.  Ten minutes later (at 7:58) still no birds had entered the chimney, but there were LOTS of swifts
making a LOT of noise!  Things were starting to get fun. 

Seven swifts entered at 7:59, but no other birds entered for 10 minutes.  At 8:09, about 75-80% of the birds appeared to be sucked into the chimney--it was fast and furious!  There was a small trickle for the next few minutes.  Three minutes later (at 8:11), the last 50 or so swifts were still circling but were completely silent (no more chattering).  The last bird entered at 8:13 when it was quite dark.  I watched for another 4-5 minutes and no other swift activity was noted.

I estimated 350 CHSW present at this site.  Thanks for organizing this...I had a blast!

Raleigh, NC:  Total no. of Chimney Swifts-1200
Date:  Monday, Sep. 10, 2001, 6:30-8:15 pm
Location: Broughton High School
Address: 723 St. Mary's Street, Raleigh, NC 27605
Description: Free-standing brick chimney, 50+ feet high, connected to heating system of school. Next to Holiday Gymnasium. Excellent viewing, can stand at base of chimney as birds circle above and enter. Weather: Overcast, threatening with local storms...could hear thunder, but did not rain. Breeze 5-10 mph from se, with gusts to 15 mph. Duration: 1st swift at 6:54 pm, 100+ by 7:15, 600+ by 7:26, 1st enter @ 7:45, by 7:55 many entering chimney, most at roost by 8:05 pm.

Winfield, KS:  The following count was held at Southwestern College, 100 College St., Winfield, KS 67156, swifts were entering chimney on administration bldg.  Number estimate was 1,200, date September 10.  Weather clear.  Time 8:00 p.m. Swifts have used this chimney and the science bldg. chimney for decades as  a staging area in September.  For some reason they have quit using the science bldg. chimney.