It’s Weather Wednesday and today we are talking about Chimney Swifts! They are a pretty interesting and important small bird in our area from March until October.
Just as their name suggests, they roost in chimneys. At dusk, if you look up in the Birmingham sky, you may see hundreds to thousands of Chimney Swifts creating a “swiftnado” as they begin to enter the chimney. “The ones that are made of brick allow the Chimney Swifts something to cling on to because they have specially adapted feet and tails that allow them to cling to vertical structures. They are not like other birds, they can’t just perch on a tree to sleep at night. So, they need to cling to an inside of a structure,” Lianne Koczur, Science & Conservation Director for Birmingham Audubon said.
Birmingham Audubon launched The Alabama Swift Watch Program. It’s a community, volunteer science team that goes out to try and find roosting and nesting sites of the swifts. “With the revitalization of the city, we are experiencing some habitat loss for these birds. As older buildings are getting demolished, we found it necessary to start putting swift towers around the city,” said Sarah Randolph, Outreach & Communications Director for Birmingham Audubon. Birmingham Audubon’s raised funds for swift towers, a makeshift nesting site for the birds.
Habitat loss is contributing to a decline in the Chimney Swift population. Koczur said their population drops by 2.5 percent each year. And why are swifts important? They are natural pest control. One Chimney Swift will eat thousands of mosquitoes a day.
If you want to support the conservation efforts of Birmingham Audubon, or attend their fre “Swift Night Out” event that’s a fun way to support the Chimney Swifts, visit: https://birminghamaudubon.org/.