Backyard Nature Wednesday: Chimney Swifts
|It's no April Fool's joke! The Chimney Swifts are back!|
Their arrival was not a surprise. I expect to see them every spring around the same time that the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds arrive, so I had been on the lookout for them for a couple of weeks. They announce their presence with their chittering calls as they fly, and they are usually heard before they are seen, but that first sighting of the birds always makes me smile because they are one of my very favorite summer visitors.
And the swifts are here for all of our long summer. From their early spring arrival, they stay right through September and sometimes even into October. During all those months, they are on the job, sweeping flying insects from the sky.
Chimney Swifts come by their name honestly. They like to nest in chimneys, but these days most people in this area cap their chimneys to keep the birds out. Some bird lovers put up faux chimneys, towers, in their backyards to accommodate the swifts and the birds seem to take to them readily enough. We, however, have never had our chimney capped and most summers we do have a pair of Chimney Swifts nesting there. They are good tenants, though sometimes a little noisy as the kids start growing and demanding to be fed, but it's a sound that I actually enjoy.
|Swifts live their lives on the wing and they have weak legs and feet that are not meant for perching like most songbirds, but they can easily cling to the vertical rough surface of a brick chimney or similar structure.|
|They "glue" their nest to the vertical surface, using their saliva, and raise their family there.|
(For more information about these interesting little birds, visit ChimneySwifts.org.)