- 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.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Chimney Swift Chaetura pelagica