Date: 7/16/20 1:05 pm From: Robert O'Brien <baro...> Subject: [obol] Not too Swift - A Minisaga (kinda long)
Over the last week or so we've been hearing the annual twittering of baby Vaux Swifts in our Chimney. Getting louder, day by day. I'd been thinking I should open the glass doors on the fireplace so any that came down could escape into the house and be discovered, rather than dying inside. Like a lot of things I hadn't gotten around to it. I thought of it again as I lay down for an afternoon nap on the couch. Maybe I'll open them when I get up? A few minutes later......flutter-flutter--thud. Yep, you guessed it. One had crashed and burned into the fireplace. At least I was there to hear it. The swift seemed clearly to be an adult, based especially on the adult shape of the bill. And the apparently fully-grown tail with its spikes. See images below.
I wonder how they manage to fall down the chimney. It's happened quite a few times over recent years (Including the Chimney Swift a few years back, but that one was not nesting.)
The swift was especially docile once I grabbed from the fireplace. It's little claws were strong in grasping my hand. Even after opening my hand outside on the driveway it continued just to rest there, later opening its bill as if overheated. Eventually it fluttered away, not the strong flight we normally see, but real fluttering. This should have been a tip-off. It wasn't an adult.
That night, in bed and listening to the radio, at some point I thought I heard fluttering. But the radio is old, with static and I wasn't sure. A few minutes later I heard it again. Or did I? So I turned off the radio. Nothing. But then, minutes later I heard it again. I turned on the light and searched around where I thought I had heard it. Nothing. So I turned off the light and went back to bed. Then I heard it again. This time I found it, behind some things on the top of a dresser. It was 11PM so there was nothing to do but put it into a small, dark container and wait til morning. By then I figured these were babies not quite ready to fledge. In the morning I decided that if it came out of the chimney it would be best to release it on the chimney so it might recognize its surroundings. So I climbed up on the roof. Opened my hand and away it fluttered. Like the first one. At last that would be the end of it. But it wasn't. Eating lunch in the dining room I glanced at one of the windows. There on the windowsill was a 3rd one. Completely quiet & still, on the sill. I took that one up to the chimney and released it also. Like the others it flew upward,circling and avoiding the trees.
I fear for their long term survival as it's not clear the parents would be involved at this point. Good luck to the little guys.