You may see them flying over head, often at top speeds, dashing and turning as they chitter away. With their cigar-shaped bodies, these amazing birds are fast agile fliers and really a joy to watch.
As summer draws to a close and the swifts have finished raising their young, these fascinating aerial acrobats begin to congregate in communal roosts prior to their migration in the fall. Some roosts may consist of an extended family group of a half a dozen birds or so, but the larger sites can host hundreds or even thousands of swifts!
Help us locate some of these roosts – keep an eye to the sky and an aware ear for that telltale chittering and let us know where you see them. We’re hoping to find some last great places where large numbers of swifts congregate and fly in formation. We encourage you to involve your local scout groups and neighbors in this exhilarating spectacle.
Here is how it works: Keep your eyes to the skies at dusk and watch for areas where swifts are feeding. Look for a tall shaft, chimney, church steeples or similar structure to locate where Chimney Swifts go to roost in your area. In times gone by, there had been reports of hundreds of swifts flying in tornado-like form as they drop into their chimney or other roost. We don’t expect to see these numbers in this day and age but even seeing 10-20 in this aerobatic display is amazing!
On one night over the weekend of August 8, 9, 10, and / or September 12, 13, 14 observe the roost starting about 30 minutes before dusk and estimate the number of swifts that enter. When you have your number, contact us with your results. That’s all there is to it!
We’ll compile the information we receive and report it to Driftwood Wildlife Association which keeps track of Chimney Swift populations and research nation-wide. To learn more about these fascinating birds, visit their website at Chimneyswift.org.