Date: 7/10/17 7:57 pm
From: Darlene Sillick <azuretrails...>
Subject: [Ohio-birds] The swifts are staging!
Tonight my bluebird friends Paula Ziebarth and Sue Guarasci and I had just
finished dinner in downtown Dublin and I said, look there are swifts above,
let's see what is happening at Sells Middle School. Sells is on 161 and east
of Frantz Rd and west of Dublin Rd and on the north side of 161. We watched
the swifts from the back of the 1919 building and parked in between the
tennis courts and the back of the building. We arrived about 9:00pmET and
about 8 or so swifts were flying over the building. This location is a
favorite place for staging Chimney Swifts in late July, August and September
and into early October.

I discovered the staging site about 15 plus years ago and I have enjoyed
making others aware of these amazing creatures and their important use of
tall chimney stacks close to dusk. The birds gather from all different
directions and fly in a clockwise flight getting tighter and tighter in
their circle then start to enter the chimney for the night. We say it looks
like they are being sucked into the chimney or it looks like reverse chimney
smoke. We were not disappointed tonight and we were quite surprised while
counting the birds as they were entering the chimney. They kept coming in
and by 9:45-9:50pm we had counted over 675 birds entering the chimney for
their evening roost. And this is only July 10!

As an avid conservation person working with Eastern Bluebirds, Tree
Swallows, Purple Martins and American Kestrels and putting up state of the
art housing, many of us monitors have noticed we are having an amazing
season with nesting and fledging many birds. Bluebirds have started their
3rd nesting in central Ohio. Some areas might say the cicadas have helped
but that is only for a few weeks and not all of Ohio. I can now add Chimney
Swifts to the list of insect eating birds doing very well so far this
season. Of course, they are going to eat smaller insects. I have never
seen this many birds staging this early in the 15 years I have been watching

I count and enter data in and over the weekend of Aug
11, 12, 13 is Swift Night Out. They want you to watch near dusk for the
sound of the swifts twittering and chittering and flying around a chimney
before they begin to enter when the light is low enough. Then, as best as
you can, count them as they enter the chimney and note the start and end

On Sept 8, 9, 10 they have a second Swift Night Out. For both monthly
counts, I will visit Sells Middle School. I check the sunrise sunset
website and I try to go at least 30 minutes or more before sunset and watch
the birds come in from all directions. If it is a cloudy and overcast night,
the birds will start entering sooner.

About 12 years ago, the peek counts at Sells Middle School were over 5000
birds entering the chimney. Visit under the
conservation tab and click on Chimney Swifts to read up on the swifts
history and behavior in our area. This YouTube Video will give you a sense of the show you
will see. Take some time and look for sites in your neighborhood in old
school or business chimneys'. Take time to report your findings and get
others excited to watch the swifts. Take it a step further and get involved
in a swift tower conservation project. Several are going up in the central
Ohio area later this year. Check Columbus Audubon's calendar of events for
several public programs about the swifts during Swift Night out. Bring your
lawn chair and you and the mosquitos will enjoy the free show.

Darlene Sillick

Powell, Ohio


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