A Continent-wide Chimney Swift Roost Monitoring Project


September 3, 2001

Staunton, VA:  In preparation for the second annual Swift Night Out (September 8) several members of the Augusta Bird Club have been monitoring an extraordinary chimney on the school grounds of Stuart Hall in Staunton.

Each evening since Sunday, September 1st we have observed huge concentrations of migrating Chimney Swifts with a high count of 6,000 on Tuesday, September 3rd. We hope to have a good count on the 8th with our Swift Night Out liaison...

September 5, 2001

East Dundee, IL:  ...spotted about 250 swifts about two weeks before your monitoring weekend.  It dropped to about 80 on September 5 at the intersection of US Highway 72 (also called Main Street) and the Fox River in downtown East Dundee.

Erie, Erie County, PA: Went up on the 5th floor of the St. Joseph's apartments (renovated orphanage, now 240 apartments for retired humans) at 6th and Maryland Avenues in Erie, PA, to watch the Chimney Swifts come to roost in the 6-story-high brick chimney.

We videotaped and counted (by 5šs, with a hand counter) the swifts as they entered. Total number of Chimney Swifts seen entering were 1,645.  The GPS reading for the nearby observation deck, about 80 feet west of the chimney was: N42.06.750 W080.07.501. It was truly spectacular!  The swifts have been using this chimney for many years.

The weather was clear, calm and about 65 to 70 degrees F. The birds began entering at about 7:50 PM Eastern Time and were all in by about 8:25 PM. We videotaped the entire event with a high-quality Sony digital mini DV camera.

Redmond, WA:  I was forwarded your request for swift roost counts from September.  Coincidentally, I was invited to a nearby home last Friday to observe VAUX'S  SWIFTS come in to roost.

The swifts nested in the chimney this summer, and though the young fledged quite a while ago, they still return each night. I counted 2 returning, but the previous night the owners had counted about 8.

So for your records:  Sept 5, 8 VAUX'S SWIFTS, residential chimney, Redmond, WA

September 6, 2001

Clarksville, WV:  Hello! I learned of your annual 'a swift night out' while visiting your web site quite recently. Went out this evening to see if the flock which I have observed in past years would roost tonight, and sure enough, there they were circling. Here's the data you requested:
Number: 150 ( a rough guess)
Time: 8:00 pm EDT
Date: 9-6-02
Location: Clarksburg, WV, 26301
Site: Private residence, building approx. 85 years old, in an old residential neighborhood of a small city, by a small river known as Elk Creek.
Weather: Clear, low humidity
Hope this info is useful to you! I have enjoyed watching swifts over the 13 years we have lived here and consider them a great neighborhood asset - they nest in one of my chimneys each spring.

Columbia, SC:  Tonight ... went to the old Whaley Mill near the
University of South Carolina campus where we counted about 3000 chimney
swifts last year. This year no swifts were using the chimney, but we did
count 496 bats (little brown myotis?) leaving the old mill.

Kearney, MO:  Kearney Jr. High
301 So. Grove
Kearney, Mo.
1140 Chimney Swifts
Began to go in 7:55 p.m. CST
All in by 8:14 p.m. CST
Weather: clear, 85 degrees F.

Roseburg, OR:  9/6/02
Temp. 64
high clouds, no wind
Location: 1624 W. Harvard
Roseburg, Oregon, 97470
40' abandoned chimney
Duration: 7:30 to 8:05 PM
Total: 5030

Arlington, VA:  Location: Fairlington Community Center
Arlington, Virginia
(S. Stafford Street)
Time: Monitored 7:15- 8:00 EDT
First in/last in 7:30/7:53
Total count: 239
Temperature: 75 F
Wind: none
Sky: clear
Site: furnace chimney at Community Center (former elementary school); surrounding area residential; immediate area public park. Site has been used in fall migration for many years.

Athens, GA:  At least 325 chimney swifts entered the Bottleworks chimney closest to the Grit.
September 6, 2002
8:00 p.m. through 8:17 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time
The Bottleworks (formerly a Coca-cola plant, now renovated as apartments and businesses)
Prince Avenue, Athens, Georgia
low 80's, clear sky

Truro, Nova Scotia Canada: 
Checked the roost at Truro, Nova Scotia on September 6 at dusk. No
Chimney Swifts seen. This roost is an unused brick chimney on the campus of the NS Agricultural College.

Jonestown, TX:  Arrived at 7:36 PM CDT.  Several staff members from the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge were on hand to talk to a number of curious local residents about the Chimney Swifts that have used the old concrete cistern for more than 20 years.  As the swifts began to arrive, 13 Mississippi Kites flew over the site.  Some of the swifts appeared to be briefly chasing the kites.  Shortly after 8:00 PM, the swift began to enter.  The total count, when averaged among counters was 1,199 birds.  Thunderstorms were in the area, but did not hinder the count.

Independence, OR:  On Friday, September 6, 2002 in Independence, Oregon, 330 Vaux's Swifts spiraled into the chimney of the City Library at 311 Monmouth Street. The first few birds arrived at 7:20 PM and circled until 7:42 when to whole flock dived in to roost.

Richland Center, WI:  192 Chimney Swifts
7:44 to 8:05 p.m. CDT
Friday, September 6, 2002
Downtown area, Seminary St.
Richland Center, Wisconsin
Old one-story brick bakery building with brick chimney
Clear sky, light breeze, 75 deg. F

Whitefish Bay, WI: Number of Swifts: 35
Time: 7:35 pm (sunset was 7:16 PM) Central Time
Date: September 6, 2002
Address: Fox Bay Building, 334 E. Silver Spring Ave,
Whitefish Bay, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin 53217
Description of site: Chimney of 1930's office building and movie theater.
(building in use)
Weather: Clear, mild

Manitowoc, WI:  10 Swifts
1901 Central
Intersection of Milwaukee and Ellis Streets in Manitowoc, Wisconsin
Chimney of abandon brewery
Dark overcast evening.
COMMENT: I have observed this site previously on the 30th of August and the 1st and 3rd of September 2002. On these occasions, I counted 100, 400 and 300 chimney swifts respectively. On the 6th of September, when I arrived at the site, there was a bird sitting on the edge of the chimney. Scoping under bad lighting conditions, I identified the bird as an American Kestrel. I saw this bird lung at a swift as the swift was entering the chimney. It appeared as though the bird and the swift entered the chimney together. I suspect that the falcon got trapped in the chimney as I never saw it fly off. Only one other swift appeared to enter the chimney after this incident. A number of other of swifts were circling the chimney but did not enter and disappeared shortly after the incident described. I checked this site on the 6th of September and counted only 25 swifts entering the chimney. they entered between 1936 and 1945 Central time. The evening was clear and cloudless. I waited until 1955 but no other swifts entered.