A Continent-wide Chimney Swift Roost Monitoring Project


August 14, 2003

Travis County, TX:  109 swifts entered the South Observation Tower at Chaetura Canyon Chimney Swift Observatory, while only seven entered the North Tower where a second brood of four youngsters are less than a week away from fledging.

August 15, 2003

Jonestown, TX:  We arrived at the old concrete cistern on highway 1431 behind the Jones-Carter Real Estate Company at 8:00 PM, and the swifts were already beginning to congregate.  A few dropped in at 8:15, but the real show did not start until about 8:30.  A family of five Western Kingbirds landed on the nearby power lines to watch the event.  By 8:45, ~ 685 swifts had entered this traditional site.  The Kingbirds did not report their count.  To see this roost site click here

Brampton, Ontario, Canada:  We counted 36 Swifts entering an unused chimney in an old mill or factory located in Huttonville ( Brampton ) between 8.15 pm and 9.05 pm. Location Zone 17 NAD 83 Easting 596821 Northing 4838035.

East Dundee, IL: 
River Street, 1 block north of HWY 72 - bicycle garage building:  87 swifts

Mount Union, PA:  Number of swifts: 156 /  8/15/2003, EST
Large chimney on school building
74 degrees F / Clear skies / No wind
20:20 first in chimney / 20:36 last in chimney / Elapsed time: 16 minutes

August 16, 2003

Travis County, TX:  Beginning at 8:40 pm, 141 entered the South Observation Tower at Chaetura Canyon Chimney Swift Observatory.  This is a substantial increase over two nights previous.  There was no change in the numbers in the North Tower.

Austin, TX:
Number of swifts counted: 500
Time (and time zone): 8:15-8:30 CDT
Date: August 16, 2003
Location: O'Henry Middle School
Address: 2610 W 10th St. Austin, TX 78703
Broad description of the site:  Old chimney at a school.
Weather conditions: Clear, a few clouds, 86 F.

Elgin, IL:  Holy Trinity Methodist Church - 325 swifts.  I look for roosts every year.  I've had counts up to c. 800 most every September Wonderful!

August 17, 2003

Griegsville, Livingston County, N.Y:  Total count was 120 swifts.

I watched the chimney from about 8:05 - 8:45 pm. 2 Swifts went in at about 8:14, the next not until 8:24. Most entered the chimney between 8:30 and 8:38; the last at 8:39. Local time of sunset was 8:11.

The site is a large central chimney in a public school building which was built about 40 years ago.

The weather was clear with temperature about 64.

Memphis, TN:  This evening at 1610 Wells Station Road (Wells Station Elementary School) in Memphis, TN, I counted 426 swifts entering the chimney. While waiting for the swifts to show, I talked to one of the
teachers who told me that this chimney is one of the tallest in the city schools. Hope to do even better on the 5, 6, or 7th.

Travis County, TX:  After a summer with roosts exceeding 100 birds, the Castle (click here to see) roost has dwindled to less than 20 birds.  The count tonight was 18.  We assume that the majority of the swifts have moved to the South Tower roost.

Vermillion, SD:  I tried to count swifts going to roost in the power plant smokestack (see attached photo) on the campus of the University of South Dakota here in Vermillion this evening (8-17-03.) Boy was that hard to do. They pour in so fast and furious at the climax of the process that I really don't trust my count. I think over a thousand though. Any tips for the September count would be appreciated. I may try to find a window in the U library nearby that would put me three stories higher; still a lot below the top of the smokestack, but closer anyway.

Richland Center, Wisconsin:  We have been counting chimney swifts going to roost for several years. In the last couple of years, the swifts use the courthouse for roosting through the summer into July, and then use other chimneys in town in late summer. This evening, August 17, 2003, we had 5 counters.

Temperature: 78 deg. F at 8 p.m., sky partly cloudy, slight breeze. All sites were within a 4 block area of downtown Richland Center, Wisconsin, E Seminary and North Central Streets.
Site 1, a warehouse, had 145 swifts going down from 8:17 to 8:34 pm CDT.
Site 2, the movie theater, had zero (there were 53 last week)
Site 3, the old city auditorium, had 13
Site 4, a downtown store, had 103
Total number of swifts: 261

Fayetteville, NC:  Counted approximately 475 Chimney Swifts.  The last Swifts entered the chimney at about 08:20 PM EDT on 08/17/2003 -- Ashley School

Roseburg, OR:   97470 - Pottery Shed Chimney 1 Vaux's swift in and out 40+ swifts flying over head
Will look for the alternate roost this evening (8/18).

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

Worthington, OH:  The swifts are hard to count. They swoop around and some don't slow down very much on their way in...so you really have to concentrate to see them, especially as it gets darker.

I counted those entering the chimney at our school on Friday and Saturday, and a few students came here to count last night, but I haven't gotten their counts yet.

On Friday, the 15th, I counted 217 birds entered the chimney.  On Saturday, I didn't have my normal glasses (was looking through sun glasses as it got darker)...but I know that I counted 176 for sure.

Last night, a student counted 232 entering the chimney at the Middle School, which is near the center of town...about 2 miles away from our building.

I had another family counting at the Middle School on Saturday night, and the 3 people gave me 3 very different counts: 52, 66, and 112. So, I don't know what I think of those data.

A second count at the Kilbourne Middle School last night was 218.
A second count at Linworth last night was 235.

McHenry, IL: 
* Number of swifts counted:  20 Chimney Swifts
* Time (and time zone):  7:30 PM Central Standard Time
* Location:  Chimney
* Broad description of the site:  Rural residence where swifts nest and roost in chimney
* Weather conditions:  Clear skies, upper 70's, winds from SE ~10 mph

Johnson City, TX:  Cinder block tower (16" x 16" ISD x 10' tall).  Five birds counted.  Assume it is the family group that nested this summer.

Romeo, MI:  I could see only five swifts enter our chimney on the night of the 17th of August. I have seen more flying together in the evening while hunting...up to eight or ten...about three weeks ago.

Nashville, TN:  310 Chimney Swifts at Tusculum Elementary School
4917 Nolensville Park., 37211