01 September 2011

Swift Action

By now, a lot of the summer bird-watching is dying down. However, for several species, especially the chimney swift and the Vaux's swift, this is their time to shine.

These swifts like to roost in human structures such as chimneys, and each night about this time of year, they can be seen entering those structures, often in huge flocks. Such events have attracted a following of birders and other interested people. For this reason and because of the fact that the chimney swift, in particular, is seeing its numbers decline, people are holding Swift Night Out events.

In the eastern portion of the US, Swift Night Out events occur in August and September and offer a citizen science component, in which participants can report what they see. For information about these Swift Night Out events, click here.

Meanwhile, in Washington state, Swift Night Out takes place in Monroe, where it has become a community event, featuring a spaghetti feed, information booths, activities for children, and, of course, the swifts, in fact thousands of Vaux's swifts (true chimney swifts live in the eastern US) diving into a four-foot chimney. The Monroe event is scheduled for September 10 and starts at 4 p.m. For more information about it, click here.

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