A Continent-wide Chimney Swift Roost Monitoring Project


September 7 (continued)

Topeka, KS: 
Place: Sweet Building (part of the First United Methodist Church complex in Topeka, Kansas), 600 SW Topeka Blvd., 66603

What: Brick chimney on a relatively young building (as churches go, anyway, maybe 25-30 years)

First bird: 7:28 CDT

20 birds: 7:55 CDT And then too many to count. This was my first opportunity to witness this and I had no idea how to count.

First birds started down: 8:05 CDT

Last birds down: 8:07 CDT

Number of birds: 720? This may be way off either way.

It was quite dark by then and I was facing lights on the buildings but swifts appeared from nowhere in big swarms. These swarms had not been circling previously and did not appear until they all started down the
chimney. I'm new at this and I was amazed. It looked like 6-10 could be entering the chimney every second. Is that possible? In any event they did it for two minutes and then they were finished. That would make 720 swifts but it seemed like more than that. I don't know where they all came from. Nobody I know has ever seen a swift and I never hear/see them when I'm in Topeka

On a personal note, my swift tower went unused again this year but we had a successful brood in our house chimney. Toward the end I think one bird was feeding, maybe. I just happened to be in the yard very near the chimney when the babies flew out the first time. Such rejoicing and chittering. And they flew so low over and around the house for a short time and then they were gone.  I was really disappointed about the tower. Maybe one of the babies will use it next year.

September 8

Driftwood, TX:  Chimney Swift Tower -- Don't know if it's too late to report this, but I just counted 8 chimney swifts going to roost here at my place…by far, the biggest population I've ever noted at one time.

Saint Joseph, MO:  Last night, September 8, I arrived at the site at 28th and Renick in Saint Joseph at 7:56 PM as birds were beginning to enter the chimney. They entered very quickly this evening, the last birds entering at 8:04 PM. I counted a total of one thousand and seventy-seven (1077) birds.

September 9

Richmond, VA:   I can add to your Chimney Swift count for last weekend.  The exact location is on the campus of University of Richmond, in the brick chimney of a classroom building built in 1914. The
weather was mild and clear in the 80s, no wind. The first birds arrived at 7:15 pm and the last dove into the chimney at 8:00 pm. We estimated 1,000 birds and have seen the whole roost twice. It's amazing. I'll be glad to answer any other questions you may have.


Baltimore, MD:   We observed two chimneys, located about a half block from each other, called the Book Bindery and Mill Center chimneys. These are located in a residential community within city boundaries. Sometimes swifts will use both chimneys, and sometimes only one, frequently switching which one. Swift preferences are a bit unfathomable! We have noticed this same choice selection in other double-chimney situations in the past.

During the evenings of August 15 and 17, both chimneys were observed and the swifts only used the Book Bindery chimney, which is located a little uphill from the Mill Center. On the 16th we also think they used only one chimney, but we didn't have enough observers to check the second one. Neighbors report that the swifts have been flocking since early August.
Friday, August 15 N = 390 First in 8:10 Last in 8:25 cloudy and hot
Saturday August 16 N = 654 Frist in 7:53 Last in 8:22 cloudy and hot
Sunday, August 17 N = 692 First in 7:59 Last in 8:29 clear and hot

Naples, TX:  Watched on August 17, 2003. Had up until the 13th, 18-24 swifts; on the designated days, only counted 8 total and only 5 went down chimney-holding steady at that count. Observed on our farm, in Naples Texas, just south of Hwy. 67, about 45 miles west of Texarkana on 100 acres. Have chimney on 1 1/2 story log home-main part of chimney (back side of house) faces east; shorter rise faces west. On the weekend we had clear to partly cloudy skies with high temp and humidity levels. the area supports a grand mix of pine and deciduous trees, with oak and cedar dominating the yard. House sits in about 5 acres or more, with spring fed pond and catch pond nearby, of hay meadow. It is unusual for us to NOT have a large roosting flock-we did notice that our Swifts were being harassed and attacked by our resident ruby throat hummers, enough that the hummer drove off swifts.

Joplin, MO:  Sunday evening, 8-31, I watched 365 Chimney Swifts go to roost at the Olivia Apartments, 4th & Moffet, Joplin, Jasper County, MO.

This evening, 802 PM through 810 PM, I counted 273 swifts dip into the North Middle School chimney, 2nd & Gray, Joplin, Jasper County, MO.

Muskegon , MI:  Searched the area of my home on north shore of L. Allegan Sept. 6 & 7. Also the area surrounding the Muskegon Waste Water Plant in Muskegon , MI on Sept 7-- no swifts were seen. [2 or 3 Purple Martins, & several Tree Swallows


Upper Arlington, OH:  Hastings Middle School / 1850 Hastings Lane / 43220

August 18th - 30 Swifts
August 19 - 50

Sept. 4th - 50
Sept. 6th - 0
Sept. 7th - 0

Joplin, MO:  On the evening of 9-7-03 I counted 651 Chimney Swift go to roost at North Middle School, 2nd & Gray, , 64801.  This site has been assigned: US-MO-004 by Dana Bradshaw

Roseburg. OR:  State reports say the Vaux's swifts are at the regular roosts but the Pottery shed chimney has no swifts.

Covington, LA: 
Friday, September 5, 2003 from 7:15 pm-7:45 pm, I counted ~450 chimney swifts entering the brick chimney of what used to be the old library (now used by the School Board) in downtown.
I discovered this roost by accident (right place/right time) at the end of July. Several hundred chimney swifts roosted there at that time.

Framingham , MA:  I had been keeping tabs on a flock of chimney swifts that were congregating at dusk around the bell-tower of the Armenian Church in downtown Framingham (Central Massachusetts). Sometime between the weekend of August 23-24 to August 30-31 the chimney swifts had left. Unfortunately the precise date this occurred was not observed. During the waning days of August I had been observing the swifts at dusk. Approximately 12 were observed at one time one evening the week of August 24-30 as compared to high points of 20 plus on virtually any day in July. The precise number of birds is not easy to discern because the birds would both enter and exit the bell tower, making it unclear if a bird existing the tower was one that had already been observed and counted. Therefore, my estimates are very conservative as I have tried not to count a bird twice. Additionally, renovations to the church had began in August, and it was unclear if that activity had dissuaded some of the birds from returning to the church bell tower.
Wichita, KS:
177 swifts
8:10 pm CDT
Sept. 14, 2003
Location: 1101 Dougherty
site is a large brick chimney on a school
weather was clear, temp 66 degrees, wind ESE 3.7 mph