Habits of the Chimney Swift

The chimney swift is among the most fun loving and sociable birds that you will find. Whether on the ground or in the air, you will see groups of them spending their time together. These birds are small birds, just short of a half foot long. And they love to spend lots of time in flight.

As a matter of fact, they do quite a bit of their eating in mid air as the snatch up insects in mid flight. Their common name, chimney swift, has become came with them because they have adjusted so well to man’s presence and to the structures that they live in. It is not uncommon to see them setting up roosting nests on the inside of chimneys.

Chimney swifts tend to be monogamous. For the most part, and barring the death of a partner, they will stay with one partner their entire lives. They are migratory birds who seek the warmth of tropical locations as leave colder areas for the winter. In the spring however, they are like homing pigeons and will usually return to the same areas year after year.

When it comes to bringing up the fledglings, chimney swifts subscribe to the theory that it takes a village. It is not unusual for a male and female to be joined by one or more additional chimney swifts in the caring of their children. They give most of their assistance in helping to bring food back to the nest. But they can also share in the incubation activities as the couple and their surrogates take turns sitting on the eggs before they hatch.

The main diet of the chimney swift consists of flying insect. The will do the majority of their feeding above lakes and ponds where they usually find an abundance of these insects. They love flies, leafhoppers, mayflies, and the like. Being a communal species, they usually feed in groups.

Therefore, as chimney swifts begin their mid morning feeding runs, it is very common to see a flock of them flying in close formation to each other. In addition to structures that are made by man, such as chimneys, these birds also love to seek out and build their nests in hollowed out locations in trees left behind by woodpeckers.

But, Although chimney swifts love to make their nests in our home chimneys, the chimney is really one of the most hazardous places where they could live. Many times the heat or deadly gases from an active chimney will kill the birds that live in these enclosures. In fact, unfortunately, homeowners inadvertently kill thousands of these creatures over the course of a year.

You might think that because of their small size, chimney swifts are easy prey. But In the wild, even though they are smaller birds, chimney swifts have little to fear from predators, mainly because of the speed at which they can turn on a dime in midair and escape their pursuers.

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