About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Chimney Swift fun facts

Chimney Swift Chaetura pelagica
  • Chimney Swifts are small, all dark swifts with a reputation for flying fast.
  • They are most conspicuous as they forage on warm summer evenings as huge flocks migrate mid-September.
  • Swifts fly almost constantly. They bathe and drink by skimming water surfaces.
  • They don’t perch but use their strong claws to hold on to vertical surfaces.
  • Originally, these birds nested in large hollow trees, but now they mainly nest in man-made structures such as large open chimneys.
  • Recent changes in chimney design, with covered, narrow flues, have decreased the available nest sites and may be a factor in declining population numbers.
  • The birds lay 3 to 7 white eggs in a nest is made of twigs glued together with saliva. The incubation period is 19-20 days, and the fledglings leave the nest after a month.
  • Chimney Swifts eat about 1/3 of their weight every day in bugs.
  • They usually forage for insects in groups, flying together closely and making a high-pitched chipping noise.
  • Chimney swifts winter in the Amazon Basin of Peru. They arrive in the continental United States in late March and are gone by early November.

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