WEATHER WEDNESDAY: Chimney Swift “Towers” for Spring Migration

Weather Wednesday

Happy Weather Wednesday, everyone!  We’re officially ONE DAY AWAY from the start of spring, and it sure does feel like it already now that we’ve hit the 80s for the past couple of days.  To celebrate this week, we’re talking about a springtime staple in Alabama–bird migrations!

The #1 species that migrates through Alabama this time of year is called the “chimney swift”.  Funky name, but it’s for a good reason! This is a very particular type of bird, because of how it builds its nest.  Due to the anatomy of its legs, swifts can only build their nests vertically instead of horizontally, making chimneys a popular nesting spot for our flying friends.

Sadly, as more chimneys are capped or destroyed for construction over time, habitat loss has become a problem for chimney swifts during their migration periods.

“It’s important for people to know about them so they don’t cap their chimneys,” explains Sarah Randolph of Alabama Audubon.  “Destroying existing chimneys in Birmingham and throughout Alabama subjects swifts to habitat loss.”

That’s not all we can do to help!  One excellent way Alabama Audubon helps swifts with habitat is build what are called “swift towers” around Birmingham, including at Red Mountain Community School in Avondale.  These are hollow, wooden towers that a swift couple can use as a resting place as they make the long journey for the spring.

“It’s essentially a birdhouse that’s only for swifts,” Lianne Koczur of Alabama Audubon tells us.  “They actually collect about two-hundred little twigs and use their saliva to glue them up against the side of this tower.”  Chimney swifts are also very territorial, and only one couple will roost per tower.  That makes it all the more important to leave chimneys in tact!

If you happen to have a nesting couple in your chimney, Alabama Audubon is offering to monitor them for you!  They have all the information you need on their website, alaudubon.org. Be sure to check it out, or you can give them a call at (205) 719-3678.

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