A Continent-wide Chimney Swift Roost Monitoring Project


Staunton, VA:  Rose Casson and I counted 462 Chimney Swifts entering the chimney at St.Francis tonight, August 28, 2004.

The first bird entered at 7:59 p.m. and the last entered at 8:16 p.m. I hope to hear the results of the other chimneys counted tonight.   Thanks for the opportunity and I look forward to next year.

Secondly, Marilyn, Lauren and I were at Stuart Hall and counted 50 CSs entering the small chimney off to the right. The first bird entered at 8:04 PM and the last one entered at 8:16 PM. I got to the Stuart Hall location around 7:35 PM and was surprised there weren't more birds flying around. I didn't see any Common Nighthawks either. Bummer.

Pittsburg, KS:  August 28, 2004 - Six members of the Sperry-Galligar Audubon found another Chimney Swift roost this evening. An estimated three hundred (300) Chimney Swifts entered the brick chimney, of a an old, single level, industrial building made of metal, at 118 S. Locust St., in Pittsburg, Crawford County, Kansas - close to the downtown business district. The last bird entered the chimney about 8:22 P.M. - Central DST. There were two brick chimneys in the building but only a few swifts were reported entering the most southern chimney. It was calm with a temperature of about 75 degrees and mostly clear skies. Finding
these roosts seems to have interested some of our members. This is the second roost found this week and is about about one mile east of the roost reported on August 22nd.

August 29, 2004 - Sperry-Galligar Audubon birders are still at work looking for Chimney Swift roosts. The roost(s) discovered this evening was estimated at a thousand (1,000) birds and is located at 5th. & Pine,
in Pittsburg, Crawford County, Kansas - one block west of Broadway in downtown Pittsburg. Two observers, from different vantage points, watched swifts enter at least three chimneys, i.e., two chimneys of the
First United Methodist Church (on the southwest corner) and one chimney on a business complex (on the southeast corner). This evening's temperature was about 70 degrees, with totally clear sky and calm. The
last birds seen to enter were approximately 8:28 P.M., Central - DST. Several nighthawks were seen flying low, around the parking lot lights before the swifts completed their nightly extravaganza.

This is the third chimney swift roost found in Pittsburg this week. On this night swifts were observed circling both of the other roosts found earlier in the week but a late vigil was not kept to assess their numbers. One wonders how many birds change roosting places over the course of a few days. We hope to have observers at each of the locations for the September 10th, 11th, & 12th. Nation-wide Chimney swift roost monitoring project.

The Sperry-Galligar Audubon monitored Chimney Swift roosts in Pittsburg, Crawford County, Kansas on Friday, September 10, 2004. The temperature was about 75 degrees, the wind was calm and the sky was clear. The sites and numbers follow:

Approximately 500 swifts were seen entering chimneys of the first United Methodist Church at 5th. & Pine. (On August 29th., 1,000 swifts were reported at chimneys of the Church and a nearby business complex.)

At an industrial building at 118 S. Locust St. 45 swifts were reported entering the chimney. (On August 28th., 300 birds were reported at this site.)

Approximately 120 swifts were observed entering the chimney of the South Broadway Baptist Church at 1322 S. Broadway. (On Sep. 1st. 300 were seen at this site.)

(The Westside Elementary School chimney roost, at 430 W. 5th., was abandoned. Approximately 300-400 swifts were reported there on August 22nd.)

Friday's count estimate of 665 swifts at three locations is less than half the numbers of two weeks ago.

Bob Mangile
Sperry-Galligar Audubon

Bethlehem PA:  Thursday August 19, 2004:  An estimated 500 swifts entered two brick chimneys
about 100 feet apart. Much larger count than that over  previous weeks.
Tuesday August 24:  Birds began congregating above the two chimneys about 40 minutes before darkness. Gradually a flight pattern emerged in the form of a gigantic doughnut, maybe 300 feet in diameter, rotating rapidly. Continued until after dark. I checked 20 minutes later and it was still there. No entries. An incredible sight. Is this typical of departures? Estimating the number of birds was difficult. Hundreds for sure.

Ed Krick, .

Editors' response:  The doughnut pattern is typical. However, it is unusual for the birds to continue to circle that long after dark. They normally all enter right at dusk with a few stragglers wandering in when it is completely dark. Fascinating! Thanks for the report.  Best Regards, Paul and Georgean Kyle

Vermillion, SD:  This is an update on the big chimney (US-SD-001) on the U of S. Dakota campus in Vermillion. I previously reported 360 birds on 8-13. Since this was less than were there last year on 8-17-03, I went back the next weekend and saw:
Fri. 8-20 720
Sat. 8-21 290
Sun. 8-22 140
A surprising drop off, but there you are. I haven't gone back since, but see no swifts around town.
phooey summer's over.

Mark Wetmore

Milwaukee, WI:  For about 20 minutes starting at sunset (7:19 PM) over 100 Chimney  Swifts dived into a chimney near the Plaza Hotel, 1007 North Cass Street, in Milwaukee Wisconsin on September 5, 2004.

Paul Hunter

Racine, WI:  Went with a few Hoy [Audubon Society?] members from Racine & we had 220 swifts going into a chimney off Water street downtown Racine- Very cool experience!!


Bertram, TX:  I believe there may be a small to medium sized Chimney Swift roost somewhere in Bertram, Texas, north of the Refuge. I was in Bertram at 7:15 - 7:30 pm on Tuesday evening (9/7) and there were 30 to 50 Chimney Swifts circling and foraging around the water tower in the center of town. This
is one block S of TX 29 on East Street. The Exxon gas station marks East Street. (The tower is conspicuous from anywhere in town.) I wasn't able to stick around until sunset to see where they went to roost, but I suspect it was somewhere right there. I hope there would be someone who could go check that roost out. I probably won't have the opportunity.

Best wishes for your events.

Chuck Sexton, Ph.D., Wildlife Biologist
Balcones Canyonlands NWR

Richland Center, WI:  Hello, I watched Chimney Swifts go to roost downtown Richland Center, Wisconsin, on Thursday, August 11, 2004, one day before the August Swift Night Out. I counted 15 swifts going down one downtown business from 8:28 to 8:38 p.m., and during that time, 4 down another smaller chimney, also a downtown business, nearby. Six other swifts flew elsewhere.  Weather, 54 deg F, overcast, light west wind.

Barbara Duerksen

Warrenton, VA:  Cub Scout Den 6 counted swifts as partial fulfillment of the Cub Scout World Conservation Award. Eight boys gathered at 7:15 pm on a very pleasant evening and heard an overview of bird migration and chimney swifts. By 7:30 the swifts starting appearing, and by 7:45 they were in their "hurricane" formation (Category 4, the boys said!). A few individuals entered the chimney early, and the boys said "This is easy!" By 7:50 the mass entry was underway, and the boys were totally amazed (and of course lost count). A small crowd of passers-by stopped and watched with us. By 7:55, only 6 birds remained. Right around 8:00 the last pair entered the chimney. A total of about 200 were counted. The Scout Den hopes to participate in the swift arrival project next spring - they had a blast!
Number of swifts counted: 200
Time (and time zone): 7:30-8:00 pm EDT
Date: Friday, September 10, 2004
Location: Warrenton, VA (45 miles west of Washington DC)
Address: SW corner of 4th and Main Streets, Warrenton, VA
Broad description of the site: Brick building, business on first floor, residence on 2nd floor. Brick chimney is set back only about 15 feet from Main Street, which is fairly busy with vehicle and foot traffic. One lady walked by with her dog and said the swifts have been using this chimney for a number of years.
Weather conditions: mostly clear, with some clouds moving in, 74 degrees, winds calm, barometer 30.18, dew point 68 degrees.

Observer: Chris Eberly (Assistant Den Leader)

Vernonia OR:  This is our first time counting the Vaux Swifts here in town, but here it goes. We counted 155 vaux swifts between 7:30-8:00 pm. The date today is 9-10-04. We used the parking lot for West Oregon Electric Cooperative as our viewing site. Vernonia is located halfway between Portland and Astoria. The roost is in a chimney of the old Joy Theater. The weather was cloudy and 70 degrees.  I have talked to a lady that lives nearby and she has said that the swifts have used this chimney since 1995 and probably before.

Dale Webb