After dinner on Saturday, I was in downtown Waukesha and I heard the familiar chittering of the zig-zag flying Chimney Swift posse. Cathy H., from Ben Goss Bird Club had reported seeing Chimney Swifts flying into a chimney of the Waukesha Historical Society recently, so I found a comfy spot and awaited sunset. There were 15-20 birds skittering around, and a couple scouts went into the chimney and as it got later and to sunset, they just kept coming and I was surprised that there were over 500 entering to roost by the time it was almost dark. There were a couple of Night Hawks flying around, the first of the season for me. Last year much lesser numbers of swifts were using private home chimneys west of the main Library, and before that year, a chimney by the Social Security Building. These will need to verified to see if they are still roosting locations. Sunday evening, Sandy P, Mary & Meredith C. and I met at the Old Norris School in Okauchee on Wisconsin Avenue. Last year the chimney on this semi-abandoned 100-year-old-school had nights of over 4000 swifts entering this roost. Here again, we started out with 20-ish swifts flying around, and over 30 minutes, about 20 went in. Then as sunset arrived, more and more started entering until we quit counting with dark falling fast, with 1000 Chimney Swifts totaled. This group had more of the swirling-circling-flight pattern around the chimney that seems to occur in these events, than at the Historical Society, they were more scattered in their flight.
There will be a number of Swift Nights Out occurring around the state, if you have a chance to observe or find a roost, please do so! It can be very exciting wonderment at this process. If you have a substantial "Roost" that's occurring, would you please let me know so that this information can be shared with others in the Chimney Swift Working Group? It would be good if we can locate and identify places & chimneys that are being used for this migratory extravaganza. (Using eBird so far hasn't allowed for finding large numbers of swifts in roosts. We know of large roosts in Janesville, Madison, Whitefish Bay, Waukesha, Delafield, Menomonee Falls, Okauchee, Oconomowoc, and hope to hear of more locations, and encourage eBirding as much as possible for this data.) Thanks to all! Spence Spence Stehno, President Benjamin F. Goss Bird Club, Waukesha 414-940-2020 <pensacola634...>