A Continent-wide Chimney Swift Roost Monitoring Project


September 6, 2002 (continued)

McMinnville, OR:  On the evening of September 6 in McMinnville, Oregon, I watched an estimated 800 Vaux's Swifts enter a chimney to roost for the night. The chimney was in a two-story building near the
intersection of Third Street and Davis Street in downtown McMinnville.

Beaver Falls, PA:  I was only able to get out Friday the 6th and Saturday the 7th. On Friday there were about 160 going into Blackhawk High School's main chimney in Chippewa Township (PA). I had heard there were "tons" going in but it wasn't so. But on Saturday, at Standard Steel in West Mayfield, there were
about 300. They didn't use this location last year but rather an older chimney at the old municipal building about 1/4 mile away. It's a private bakery now and I think the owners may have installed a sound deterrent
device. I'll look into that later. Tonight (12th) I was at Standard Steel and saw at least 400 going in. (65 degrees, clear sky, no wind) Last year they were still roosting in the old bakery until October 17th. There are
several other locations here because of the valley and the Beaver River running into the Ohio River. Lot's of bugs. I was at a small house in Monaca (about 6 miles) and saw around 120 going in there two nights ago.
There's too many small roosting sites to visit in one night. A neighbor across from me had 230+ going into her small chimney every night TWO years ago with none before that and none since! She let me go into the cleanout in the basement that year to check for injured birds. No birds but the soot had built up and completely blocked off the water heater vent. People should be aware of that. I had to pick up two babies in Aliquippa this summer that had crawled through the water heater vent pipe and were lying on top of the water heater!! That soot build-up allows the birds easy access to the vent pipe. The lucky ones don't fall down into the center of the water heater.

Gainesville, FL:  My wife Laurie and I counted swifts at two roosts in the Pleasant
Street Historic District neighborhood in Gainesville this weekend. I had
received news of the count from Rex Rowan. The first roost was a small
brick chimney at the Williams Thomas Funeral Home at Main Street and NW 4th
Avenue in Gainesville. On Friday the 6th 68 swifts roosted here. The
following night we counted the swifts at the Seagle Building at 408 West
University Ave. Our friends Jenny and David Holbrook invited us up to their
penthouse on the 11th floor to get a good look as they zoomed in the huge
chimney. On Saturday the 7th we recorded 322 swifts roosting here.

September 7, 2002

Canton, Massachusetts:  What fun! On September 7th, my wife and I enjoyed diving chimney swifts seemingly choreographed to Rachmaninov's Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini  as it played on the car radio. We arrived at the parking lot of the old  High School building at sunset. The weather was clear, dry, and 74 degrees. We watched intently the tall chimney of the High School at  760 Washington Street (across from a Massachusets Audubon Wildlife  Sanctuary) in Canton, Massachusetts; a suburban town about 20 miles south of Boston. At approximately 7:10 pm, we observed the first group of 5 chimney swifts circling the chimney, diving, but not entering, leaving, then returning with more swifts, now diving and entering. By 7:33 pm EST the show was over. We had counted 84 swifts entering the chimney.

Raleigh, NC:  I watched a chimney swift roost that I've noticed in years past last night.

Here is the information:
400+ swifts
7:55 EST
Sat. 9-7-02
Raleigh, NC
Brick apartment bldg. in West Raleigh on Hillsborough Rd.
fair sky

Portland, OR: I have been observing the Vaux's Swifts at Chapman for the past four years. I got the email to count the swifts of the last weekend.  The swifts started entering the chimney on Aug 20th, eight days earlier than I have seen before. I don't know exactly how much information you want, but I will pass along my notes over the three day period. I counted the swifts in groups of ten as they entered.
  On 6 Sept.: started to enter at 1945; immature Cooper's hawk landed on the top of the chimney at 1946, left at 1947 without capturing a swift; swifts re-entered the chimney at 1949 and ended at 2006. Total: 4,500
  On 7 Sept.: started to enter at 1949 and ended at 2003; no raptors. Total: 5,500.
  On 8 Sept.: started to enter at 1939; immature Cooper's hawk landed on the top of  the chimney at 1907 (before the swifts entering the chimney) and left at 1924  without capturing a swift; ended at 1954. Total: 5520.

Baltimore, MD  reporting to 2002 Swift Night Out

At an old industrial chimney:
The Mill Center
3000 Chestnut Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21211

Sept. 7, counted 4,931 Chimney Swifts 65 degrees, calm and clear
Sept 8, counted 5,232 Chimney Swifts 65 degrees, calm and clear

Austin, TX:  had a great time counting swifts at the O'Henry Middle School in Austin on Saturday night (9/7/02). There was a much larger swarm of swifts there than my count last year. At 7:45PM there were a couple of huge circle of birds swarming all about. The first bird dropped in the stack at 8:01 and the last was about 8:27 (it was quite dark by then due to the complete overcast sky). It sprinkled a bit on us, but a huge deluge of rain had finished about less than an hour before we arrived -- water was still pouring out of the drain pipes of the school's flat roof.
We counted 960 swifts.

Fredonia, WI:  I would like to report Chimney Swift numbers for the following roost:

Number observed: 300-350
Observed: Saturday September 7th, 7:45-8pm
Location: Neuens Lumber Company
Fredonia, WI
The roost is in a large chimney on the grounds of the Neuens Lumber Company  in Fredonia. It stands between 20 and 30 feet high. It is in good  condition. I believe the chimney is unused by the company at this point.

Weather: Clear, warm, temperatures in the mid 70's.

An amazing sight to see hundreds of swifts swirling around and dropping in  by the 5's and 10's! Looks like smoke going backwards down the chimney.   This is the 3rd year I have observed this site.  I believe it was likely used previously but I hadn't discovered it before.

Wolfville, Nova Scotia:  Robie Tufts Nature Centre chimney -- I was really too late for meaningful observations on this night, but I watched from 8:00 to 8:20 p.m. -- sky clear, calm, warm -- no swifts seen.

Hamburg, PA:  Location: Hamburg, Pennsylvania Berks County
Hamburg Post Office chimney
N 4033.353'
Sept 7:
total counted that entered the chimney: 324
sunset: 7:28 EDT (Eastern Daylight savings time)
first to enter: 7:34 EDT
last to enter: 7:50 EDT
weather: clear, calm, 73

Sept 9:
total counted that entered the chimney: 241 first to enter: 7:34 EDT
sunset: 7:25 EDT
first to enter: 7:28 EDT
last to enter: 7:48 EDT
weather: clear, calm, 79

September 8, 2002

Annandale, VA:  Time: 7:15 PM to 7:55 PM ( Eastern Time zone)
Date: 8 September 2002
Location: Belvedere Elementary School
Address: 6540 Columbia Pike (address of roost chimney at school) Annandale, Va.22003
weather: Clear air mass, mid 70s, no wind.
Number of swifts:
650- began dropping into chimney at 7:38 and finished by 7:52.

Pontiac, SC:  observed 50 Chimney Swifts returning to their roost chimney at the old two-story office building at Clemson University's Sandhills Experiment Station near Pontiac, SC. A map is attached with the building circled.  The coordinates are 512337.9171 East, 3776556.0033 North (Universal Transverse Mercator, Zone 17 North, Datum NAD1983, CONUS).