Sunday, July 7, 2013

The weirdness of Chimney Swifts

Today, as essentially all days between late March and this time of year, I heard a Chimney Swift twittering over my house.

There are several weird things about this species:

1- I have seen many thousands over my 40+ years of birding, but have never seen one perched/alighted.  That is because they only do so in tree hollows, chimneys, and similar places. 

2- call me crazy, but they give the illusion of alternately beating the left and right wings in flight. 

3- for some odd reason, I have never seen or heard of a communal roost anywhere in Greater New Orleans.  This is when hundreds (sometimes thousands) gather in the evening to enter a roost chimney, which they approach by swirling around it at dusk in a huge mass, and filtering down inside.  I have seen it elsewhere many times, and it is very fun to watch.  They are often mistaken for bats in such situations. 

Anyone out there in the audience know of a communal roost site?  Please let me know- it would be worth mention here and in Birding Made Easy-New Orleans.

There is more about swifts on p. 80 in Birding Made Easy-New Orleans.

Good birding,


for a copy of Birdin Made Easy-New Orleans, email me at, or look for it in the Maple Street or Garden District Book Shops.

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