A Continent-wide Chimney Swift Roost Monitoring Project



Belvedere, VA:  I missed the Chimney Swift Night Out last weekend, but gathered data for Belvedere Elementary School for the evening of 11 September.

Data was supplied for Belvedere last year under number US-VA-059. Belvedere is along Columbia Pike in Fairfax County, Virginia, ZIP is 22003.

The school hosts an old style chimney which the swifts use post-breeding. The first bird entered the chimney at 7:11PM EDT and the last at 7:49PM EDT. We counted 950 birds that entered the chimney during this time.

Temps were in the low 70s with a slight breeze and a clear air mass.

Joplin, MO:  I also have been observing Chimney Swifts go to roost. A convenient  location for me is at 2nd & Gray, Joplin, Jasper County. North Middle School.  I counted 476 swifts go to roost in their 5 X 6 ft. X 65 Ft. chimney on Saturday,  Sept. 13.

In order to test just how far off my counts in the evening are I was at the chimney the following morning, Sunday, Sept. 14. An early rising CHSW was out at 0642 AM. The rest poured out from between 0644 and 0651. A total of 389 swifts came out this morning.

So now, two wrongs make a right! Seriously I believe that the morning count was very close to right and perhaps just a bit conservative. The swifts, "anxious to get their day going" left in all directions and didn't mill around. Also none of them were observed to return to the roost in the morning. Sometimes, in the
> evening some go in and come back out. So, if you're a morning person as I am, counting CHSW in the mornings may be easier and more accurate.

St. Joseph, MO:  I have been observing Chimney Swifts somewhat regularly since August 15 of this year. Mostly I have been watching them in the evening going to roost. They are roosting in a chimney on the Methodist Church at 28 and Renick, just down the street from where we live. It is quite convenient to observe the birds since they are nearby. The chimney is about 70 feet high and 3 feet by 3 feet square. From August 15 until August 29 the number of birds roosting in the chimney was anywhere from 200 to 400 birds. Their number swelled moving into the month of September about fourfold. Sept 7, I counted 835; on the 8th there were 1077 and this evening (Sept 14) I counted 1300 entering the chimney. It has been very entertaining and educational to watch these summer aerialists begin to prepare for the flights to their wintering areas.

Austin, TX:  I got a roost! It's in my Travis Heights neighborhood, in the historic home known as "The Academy" (located at the corner of Academy and Newning), and I estimate at least 50 swifts.

Greigsville, NY:  Here are two counts of Chimney Swifts from the York Central School in western New York. I haven't been around during the weekend times so am sending midweek counts after the event.

1, 550 Chimney Swifts
7:30 to 7:56 pm EDT
September 11, 2003
York Central School, in the hamlet of Griegsville (town of York, Livingston Co.)
This is in western New York State about 40 miles south of Rochester
The site is the central chimney of a large public school built about 40 years ago.
Weather : clear and about 65 degrees.

2. 310 Chimney Swifts
7:25 to 7:46 pm EDT
September 17, 2003

Weather: clear and about 65 degrees.

Seattle, WA:  Vaux's Swifts, 2-300 at Genesee Park in the Seward Park neighborhood of south Seattle, 2 blocks west of Lake Washington on 9/13/03 at 7:30PM . The birds were swirling and twittering as if it were springtime. They almost formed a funnel as if maybe entering a roost in a house to SW of my friends' house where she says there are three houses with old chimneys.

Buffalo, NY:  Hello, I just looked at your site and have some information that doesn't happen to fall on the dates you have mentioned, but I found interesting. We went to downtown Buffalo, NY for an outdoor concert on August 28th, 2003 and were surprised to find a noisy group of chimney swifts on the way back to our car. There were approximately 100 swifts circling to roost in one chimney of a 2-story building at the southeast corner of Mohawk and Washington streets. Directly across from the Niagara Mohawk building. The whole process from the point in time (about 8:15 pm) that we became aware of them was about 15 minutes. I never made it back to see if the numbers were higher.

Durham, NC:  I have found another chimney swift migration site, just a half block away from Watts Street Baptist Church at Watts Street School. Counted approximately 1,200 birds, Friday  September 19th at 700 Watts Street, Durham, NC. The weather was clear one day after Hurricane Isabel.

Attalla, AL:  I have been observing Chimney Swifts going to roost this summer.  They are roosting in an old house chimney that was built in about 1912.  The most we have counted going in is 105.  We about 50 miles north of Birmingham.

Davidson, SC:  Yesterday (September 16), we saw about 250 swifts circling an old, tall chimney in the middle of Davidson, North Carolina just across the RR tracks from the old depot. However, the Swifts never seemed to go into the chimney. We thought they may have decided to use another prominent but shorter chimney in Davidson at a converted school about 0.3 miles away but couldn't confirm they used that chimney because of darkness.

Tonight, we went back and saw the same pattern of about 250 Swifts circling the first, tall chimney with a few circling the school chimney but then suddenly all the Swifts gathered into a single kettle and started circling yet another chimney at a small house about 100 yards from the tall chimney. Within five minutes, they all went down into this smaller chimney (about 7:50 PM). We could see the other two taller chimneys and can confirm that none of the Swifts used either of these other chimneys.

The house is rented to a few Davidson college students. I asked one of the renters if she knew they had Swifts roosting in their chimney and she said no and was quite surprised by my comment. The last 2 - 3 Swifts went down the chimney as she watched. The house address is 225 Eden Street but there is no number on the house.

Since their chimney is only about 15 feet high, the view of the Swifts entering the chimney was spectacular.

Racine County, Wisconsin:

Rochester Library
208 East Spring Street
Count: 48-52
7:30-7:40 PM CDT
old school chimney

505 Aber Drive
Count: 220
7:25-7:35 PM CDT
commercial/industrial building

219 W. Main Street
Count: 75
7:25-7:40 PM CDT
commercial /industrial building

Racine, WI: 143 Swifts still roosting in the Eagles Club chimney as of 9/24.   Also, another roost was spotted in a central downtown Racine brick chimney. 86 Swifts were counted 9/20. The chimney is approximately 45 feet tall and located just west of Kewpee's Sandwich Shop, 520 Wisconsin Ave., 53403.