Date: 9/10/19 7:34 pm From: Joette Borzik <pep4223...> Subject: Chimney Swift roost - Charles Town, Jefferson County
Tonight, the sky was clear, no wind and a 76 pleasant degrees F. I brought my walking partner/neighbor, who is not a birder, with my husband and I, to watch the swifts. For the last two months, my neighbor has been patiently listening to me point out birds every evening as we walk (probably yawning and rolling her eyes.) We've seen Chimney Swifts many evenings, but just 2-4 on average. She was born in Peru, and when I explained where these tiny fast flying birds migrate to, she couldn't believe it. She then became more interested. So tonight was going to be a big surprise for her. I told her we were going to see the swifts roost, and I would have her home in less than one hour.
Things happened alot quicker tonight compared to last evening. It was noticeable that the days are getting shorter by minutes each day. When we were near the Charles Town post office, the smaller flock of swifts that seemed to have its own roost, were still there. I wanted to observe both areas, but it was more important to show my neighbor the big surprise yet to come. I couldn't wait to share the experience with her.
As the momentum of the flock started to build around the chimney, the pattern of birds tightened, and the aerial spiral of swifts started to form a nice circle going counterclockwise. A fire engine was responding to an alarm, and the loud siren less than a block away, scared the birds. They went in all directions away from the chimney, were a bit chaotic for a minute or two, then they returned to their aerial circle. She agreed that they looked like a toilet bowl flushing.
This evenings observation of the Charles Town post office Chimney Swift roost was achieved in 7 magical minutes. The first Chimney Swift entered the chimney at 7:47 PM, and the last entered at 7:54 PM.
An amazing 705 Chimney Swifts entering the chimney tonight!