Learning a little about Chimney swifts




At first  I thought there was a very squeaky thing in our chimney that would make squeaky noises, maybe because the wind blew, like a fan or something.  Then it became more organic sounding.

And then one night we scared each other suggesting that they were BATS!  WOOOO!

But they sometimes tweeted like little birdies.  And sometimes they squeaked.  And it sounded like there were a whole mess of them!


So I did some little research and decided they were probably chimney swifts.

Today while we were out in the wading pool I watched about 6 of them circle the house, then go off and then come back and fly right into the chimney.  Yeah, chimney swifts.


The things make an incredible racket in the evening.  And if I dare open our squeaky fireplace doors the hissing like squeaks they make are kind of scary almost.

Still I am fascinated, happy that we can share our chimney with them.

I suppose it reminds me of our matriarch grandmother’s last days when she was immobile, she looked out the window at the birds and had quite a few feeders and birdhouses.  They were her day.  I loved her love of nature and simple things.


So the birds have saliva that is glue-like and they attach the nest to the side of the inside of the chimney.  It is not at all unusual apparently for them to fall, which I hope they do not.  They can get trapped in the house, and I read one story of the birds making nests on the walls?


They are the only birds that can fly vertically, I think, and they hang on walls.  The hissing sound the young ones make apparently is pretty usual.  I think we have more than one nest up there too, because I was watching 6 birds circling the house today from the back yard, and at one point a whole lot of them came around.

I have been reading that watching the birds is kind of a big deal.   And the fact that they are in our chimney I think might also be kind of a big deal.  And there are alot of people who pay alot of attention to these little birds.

I have read conflicting info, some say that only one will nest in a chimney and other places say that hundreds can nest in an industrial chimney…

But the more I find out, the more it seems kinda cool.  Even if I do have to turn up the TV to hear over their racket (can’t you just feel the Archie Bunker?).


Edit:  There was a movie made about chimney swifts, a huge lot of them that inhabited the Chapman School here in PDX recently.  The link to the site is here. Thanks Gregor for the link to the trailer in the comments.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Greg says:

    How cool to have swifts in your chimney! Check out this YouTube trailer for a film about the Chapman Swifts.

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