Date: 8/10/18 1:50 am From: 'Gregory J. Harber' <gharber...> [albirds] <albirds-noreply...> Subject: [ALBIRDS] Birmingham Chimney Swifts and a Peregrine Falcon, cause it's that time of year
Now that fall migration has gotten underway for Chimney Swifts I have started checking some of the usual roost sites here in downtown Birmingham for the presence of "swiftnado" formations. Ansel Payne alerted me to the fact that the roost site near Chez Lulu, in Mountain Brook's English Village, has had about 250-300 birds using it for the past couple weeks. Last Sunday, while trying to locate a better spot to photograph the birds, I found that there are actually three chimneys in the Redmont Gardens apartments that are in use - not just the one visible from the parking lot adjacent to Chez Lulu.
Yesterday after work, following a thunderstorm that passed through downtown about 5:30-5:45, I checked a few locations close to UAB. Railroad Park continues to have swifts coming for a drink of water before they head to their roost sites - look for them right before sunset at the Pavilion Pool. The warehouse building that was situated next to the Sherman Cement Plant (1st Avenue South at 12th Street) is being renovated and that chimney was torn down, which is unfortunate as that chimney routinely hosted 500-600 swifts during the peak of migration.
The vacant Sticks-n-Stuff storefront on 3rd Avenue North and 16th Street showed no signs of swifts last night. Chimney still looks to be intact, so either they have not started using it yet this year, or they had already entered by the time I rode past about 7:35 p.m. The large chimney/roost site at the Mason's Hall (4th Avenue North at 17th Street) had 50-60 swifts flying in formation between 7:40 and 7:45. Hard to say if more birds might have already entered the chimney due to the hard rains about an hour earlier, but I was glad to see that this chimney was being used. Historically, this chimney has hosted the largest numbers of swifts in our area (~4,000 - 6,000 birds at the peak), but some years it has not been used at all. Still haven't figured out why that is.
The chimney at the Birmingham Housing Authority building, west of Publix, did not have any swifts at 7:50 - nor did an adjacent building that is being renovated but which has hosted swifts in the past. Possible reasons are the birds aren't using it yet, I was there too late or the Peregrine Falcom that flew over my head under the brooding and gloaming skies impressed the birds as much as it impressed me.
There are other sites in the vicinity I will continue to check in the coming weeks. Find a swiftnado near you in the coming weeks and enjoy the spectacle! Here in Birmingham the roost sites are used well into October, usually.
------------------------------------ Posted by: "Gregory J. Harber" <gharber...> ------------------------------------
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