Holiday BC Newsletter • December, 2017

SAVING WILD BIRDS SINCE 2004
Thanksgiving Grace By Sheila Daly and Kitty Madden
As we gather in the harvest of another year,
We give thanks for the cycle of the day
that provides a feast of sunrises and sunsets,
time for work, and time for rest.
May the movement of the sun and moon
remind us to count our rich blessings.We give thanks for the cycle of growing,
from planting to harvest,
that provides us with work of our hands
and food for our families.
May the mystery of the seasons
that bloom full and lay fallow in their own time,
remind us to plant our spirits in rich soil,
and to trust in the miracle of the harvest.We give thanks for the cycle of life,
that miraculous gift,
marked by milestones and memories,
the mundane and momentous.
May the babies who are born today
remind us of the promise of all new beginnings,
and the great encircling that awaits us at each ending.We give thanks for circles of family and friends,
for loving companions dear in our hearts
and those with whom we now join hands.
May all who share our joy,
remind us of those for whom giving thanks is a struggle,
and as we receive love, may we radiate it out
in ever-widening circles of care and compassion.We give thanks for the grace to count our blessings,
and we trust that our gratitude
will be translated into the desire
to be a blessing to others.

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ART EXHIBIT AND SALE  SAT. DECEMBER 9   11-4 PM

At The Bird Center   926 Mary Street
   
Come out to support the Bird Center and songbirds before the holidays!  This event will be right at the Bird Center in downtown Ann Arbor!
Join us as we host an event collaborating with local award winning artist Tim Marsh.  Tim has a huge heart and supports many wildlife causes. He would like to help support the Center. Tim will be selling beautiful prints of his paintings, bookmarks and magnets. His art is primarily of animals and nature. Tim is generously donating a percentage directly to the center from the sales made at this event.
Their are so many wonderful pieces to choose from, so come out and choose some holidays gifts and support the Center at the same time!
You can check out his beautiful work here:
https://timmarsh-nature2nature.com/
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Carol sent this along. She said this sounds like fun!!
Opportunity for free two-week stay in historic lighthouse keeper’s quarters.
.Tawas Point Lighthouse Keeper Program offers special vacation and service opportunity
As the calendar reaches December, it’s not uncommon for people to start thinking about their travel plans for the approaching year. For those seeking uncommon travel experiences, the Tawas Point Lighthouse Keeper Program offers the opportunity for a free two-week stay in historic lighthouse keepers’ quarters while helping to promote the history and preservation of the site. The application period to participate in the program in 2018 is now open.In 2018, the Tawas Point Lighthouse Keeper Program offers combined vacation and service opportunities for adults from May 16 to Oct. 16. Those selected to be volunteer lighthouse keepers receive lodging in the restored keepers’ quarters next to the 1876 Tawas Point Lighthouse in Tawas Point State Park. In exchange, participants provide roughly 35 hours of services each week in and around the historic lighthouse that attracts visitors from all over the world.”The Tawas area is known as Michigan’s Cape Cod,” said Hillary Pine, Tawas Point Lighthouse historian. “It’s a lovely area favored by bird-watchers, anglers, history enthusiasts and others. We make sure our volunteer lighthouse keepers have plenty of time to enjoy Lake Huron, Tawas Bay and other recreational opportunities.”Keeper duties include greeting visitors, giving tours, providing information about the lighthouse, and routine cleaning and maintenance. Keepers stay in the second story of the keepers’ quarters attached to the lighthouse. Accommodations include two bedrooms sleeping up to four adults and modern kitchen, bath and laundry facilities. Keepers must commit to a two-week stay at the lighthouse. Pine said the lighthouse keeper program looks for teams of two, three or four adults – especially those with knowledge of lighthouse lore or Great Lakes maritime history – but that there is no requirement for such a background.”We give our volunteer lighthouse keepers historical information and on-site orientation to help prepare them for their experience,” Pine said. “They take great pride in helping to promote and preserve the lighthouse – and who wouldn’t love waking up to the beautiful view of the bay that they enjoy every day?
For more information about program, send e-mail to
 The application period is open through Feb. 2, 2018.      989-348-2537
Tawas Point Lighthouse is a nationally accredited museum located 2.5 miles southeast of East Tawas, in Tawas Point State Park
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Carol writes:
“Just got a nice email from former staff member Will O Neill who is in veterinary school at Oregon State.  Sarah Lowe Wetzel, also one of our former interns is studying Veterinary Oncology at Oregon State!’           CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR GRADUATE STUDENTS.
                              WE’RE PROUD OF YOU!!!
How to Welcome Winter Birds
Fall may mean migration, but one bird’s north is just another bird’s south. 
 
  Myrtle song1Sad that some of your favorite birds are going south for the winter?
Don’t worry-others are coming to take their places. As birds that breed in the lower 48 states head to Central and South America, those from the boreal forests of Canada and Alaska are also heading south in search of warmer climes. One study found that in California’s Central Valley, there are just as many different bird species around in the winter as in the summer.
While there isn’t good data showing whether this seasonal trade-off is just as balanced in other locales, “winter visitors” can be found all over the country, says Jeff Wells, Science and Policy Director for the Boreal Songbird Initiative. “There’s this massive sea of a billion or more birds that come down into the U.S. and become, often, the common birds of backyards and parks and lakes and ponds,” says Wells. “Yet we don’t think so much about where they’re coming from and what their needs are.”
Helping these winter visitors out could help sustain their populations in both their wintering and summering grounds. Birds have the same needs-food, water, shelter-in winter as they do any other time. Winter habitat has also been shown to affect breeding success, according to studies on tropical-wintering birds, and the same could be true for the boreal birds wintering here, says Kristen Dybala, who led the California study. If the birds don’t find quality habitats with good food, their health suffers, Dybala explains, and it may take them longer to gather the energy to migrate back to their breeding grounds. When they finally arrive, the best breeding spots might be taken. “Each stage of the annual cycle kind of depends on the previous one,” says Dybala. Basically, it’s a snowball effect.
While conservationists tend to pay the most attention to habitats during breeding season, “there’s this whole other season that we haven’t been paying nearly as much attention to, and there may be opportunities to do a better job providing higher-quality habitat during the winter,” Dybala says.
So what can you do to welcome the boreal birds to your backyard this winter? Here are some tips from Stephen Kress, who directs Audubon’s Project Puffin.
Create a songbird border of native trees and shrubs to shelter your yard from the wind. Choose berry-producing landscape plants, such as juniper trees and shrubs like dogwood, serviceberry, and viburnum; many boreal birds, such as the Cedar Waxwing, the Yellow-rumped Warbler, and several sparrow species, eat berries during the winter. Fall is the perfect time to plant, says Kress-though be sure to put wire-mesh cages around the new plants to protect them from mice, deer, and rabbits.
Make a brush pile in the corner of the yard to shelter the birds from predators and storms and to provide night roosting places. Put logs and larger branches on the bottom and layer smaller branches on top.
Rake leaves up under trees and shrubs-and leave them there. The resulting mulch will make a lush environment for the insects and spiders that these birds, such as the Savannah Sparrow and Golden-crowned Sparrow, like to eat.
Turn part of your lawn into a mini-meadow by letting it grow up in grass and weeds. (Mow it once a year, in late summer.) Seed-eating boreal visitors, including several sparrow species and the Dark-eyed Junco, will benefit from your letting things go literally to seed. “In general, overly tidy gardeners are poor bird gardeners,” Kress writes in The Audubon Guide To Attracting Birds.
 
For other tips on how to make your property hospitable to birds, check out How To Make Your Yard Bird-FriendlyMake Migration-Friendly Window Decorations, and, of course, Kress’s book.
To everyone of the Bird Center family and friends I wish you a holiday season with quiet time to read a favorite book or look through family scrapbooks
noisy with the laughter of friends and family, peace & reflection.

October Newsletter

Dear Friends,
The Bird Center is transitioning to our fall schedule. We are only accepting birds under special circumstances. If someone finds a bird, you may call the Bird Center at 761-9640. We will return your call within 24 hours.
You may also call:
Howell Nature Center at   517-548-5530
Sherri Smith, Licensed Rehabilitator at 734-994-6287
If you go to the Michigan.gov website there is a list of Licensed Rehabilitators by county.
If the bird is in Washtenaw County and is severely injured, call the Huron Valley Humane Society at 734-662-5585 Ext 3
There are 10 birds at the Center: 3 Grackles, 2 Pigeons, 2 Mourning Doves, 1 Cowbird, 1 Cedar Waxwing and 1 House Sparrow .
 3 House Sparrows were released from our flight cage and we will be releasing a Mourning Dove this week.
                                                                                                             
Volunteer Appreciation Party
SUNDAY NOVEMBER 5
3-5 PM
AT DOROTHY AND KEN’S HOME
717-0208

Our educational bird, BLUE will be at the party. She likes to snatch and hide things like food and other treasures, so hang onto your money!

NEED VOLUNTEERS
The Bird Center is also a city polling station and will be used for the election on Tuesday November 7.
We will be moving the birds over to the Ann Arbor Animal Hospital on Sunday Nov.5 at 9 AM and returning them to the Bird Center on Wednesday Nov.8 at 2 PM
On Sunday we will need 2-3 people to help transport birds and supplies and another 3-4 people to help clean the center (and perhaps do some gardening on the outside of the center) On Wednesday move back we also need a few volunteers to transport everything back to the bird center and help clean the room at the Ann Arbor Animal Hospital.
Call the Bird Center and leave a message if you can help out.
  
      THANK YOU GABBY
 FOR ALL YOUR WORK AND COMMITMENT  to the birds
                                                                         
Gabby Costello, our wonderful Clinic Manager, is stepping away from her position.  She has been at the Bird Center since 2013, first working as an intern and a supervisor.  She accepted the job as clinic manager in 2015.  Gabby is training Andrea Aiuto, who will take over the job at the end of this year.  Andrea has been with the Bird Center for 5 years and is a Veterinarian Technician.
                              
Carol Akerloff is looking for the return of 2 precious books she lent to
The Bird Center.  
Beak to Beak and They Call Me The Birdman, both books are by Walter Crawford, founder of The World Bird Sanctuary, a rehabilitation and sanctuary for raptors in St. Louis. Please look through your library and bookcases to see if you have one or both books.
 
We received this note of thanks and beautiful photograph from
Tom and Jill Demske.
Dear Bird Center,
Just wanted to thank you folks for the work you do.  We so appreciate you being there to take in our injured bluebird last night. Here is a recent
photo from our property here in Lyndon Township. 
 
  
  
  How Baby Owls Nap Without Falling From Their Trees
  Barred Owl fledgling. Photo: Gerrit Vyn/Minden Pictures
Sometimes birds fall directly into our lives. BirdNote listener Joseph Clark tells of discovering two Barred Owlets on the ground near his home in East Haddam, Connecticut. The young birds had fallen out of an ancient sugar maple and were being harassed by ravens.
Clark scared off the ravens, and with the guidance of Kasha Breau of the Connecticut Audubon Center, got the young owls back up into the tree. The mother owl stayed nearby, keeping a close eye on the rescue.
Once the birds were safe, Breau advised Clark to observe the owlets napping, which they do during the day. What he saw delighted him. Keeping their talons tightly gripped on a branch, the owlets lie down on their stomachs, turned their heads to the side, and fall asleep. Their naps are short, and when they are asleep, they do not like to be awakened, even to be fed.

A young owl doesn’t fall out of the tree while it snoozes, because its back toe, the hallux, holds onto the branch. The hallux will not open or let go until the bird bends its leg. Still, before they can fly, most owlets explore and often end up on the ground, sometimes dropping right into the middle of our lives.

 I’m Mary McCann for Bird Note.

NEW FLIGHT CAGE

  

Stan Misevich
Interior of Flight Cage

We have a new flight cage on the property of Tempie Stahlin, a long time volunteer at the Bird Center. This brings our total of 4 cages that are used for birds who need a little practice  flying before being  released back into the wild.  Tempie’s previous cage was crushed by a falling oak tree and needed to be replaced.
The new cage was built by Eagle Scout Stanley Misevich, his dad and a crew of friends over several weekends so that Stanley could earn his Eagle Scout badge.  Stanley created the plans for the cage, had them approved by the Boy Scout Board, and raised all the money to pay for it.  Stanley juggled this project while in his final year of high school, working part time at a bowling alley, and practicing for a major role in the Dexter Drama Club’s production of The Lion King.
THANK YOU STANLEY and the crew
FOR BUILDING THIS BEAUTIFUL FLIGHT CAGE!
 
 
 
Matthaei Botanical Gardens Trail
Grand Opening Celebration
 
Saturday, October 14, 2017 – 9:30am to 12:00pm
Matthaei Botanical Gardens, 1800 N. Dixboro Rd., Ann Arbor, MI 48105
On Saturday, October 14, the newly constructed Matthaei Botanical Gardens Trail will officially be open to the public! The 2-mile paved trail connects the University of Michigan Botanical Gardens with Parker Mill Park and the Washtenaw County Border-to-Border trail system.
The celebration will include a mobile bike repair stand, face-painting, coffee trucks, membership incentives, children’s activities in the Gaffield Children’s Garden, garden tours, and an official ribbon cutting. Please join us from 9:30am to noon to celebrate the grand opening of the trail near the Campus Farm off the gardens’ south entrance.

September Newsletter

It is hard to believe that the Autumn Equinox is this Friday, the 22nd of September.  Warm days and cool nights, picking flowers and harvesting vegetables. I’m making lots of soup with those root vegetables and squash !
The Bird Center is slowing down, there are fewer birds, 18 as of today and most are self feeding. Hours are now 7AM to 8PM
 Volunteer Judy Lobato
“This is my 2nd season volunteering at BCWC. My shift is 7-9am on Tuesdays. I clean cages and on the rare occasion there’s extra time I wash dishes. When a call goes out for extra help, I try to participate but I volunteer with other groups, so it doesn’t always work into my busy retiree schedule.
I walk dogs at HSHV, count butterflies, twice a month I am an ESL (English as a Second Language)  conversation partner at Jewish Family Services and twice a month volunteer at Huron Valley Women’s Prison. Mix in getting enough exercise and meeting friends for breakfast or lunch- it’s a good thing I’m retired since I don’t have time to work. Fall and winter finds me following the Spartans & Steelers and spring & summer I watch the Yankees.
Life is full.
I live on 50 acres with my husband Duane Tomas and black cat Tess. We watch turkeys, sandhill cranes, fox, deer and listen to owls and coyotes.”
VOLUNTEERS ARE THE HEARTBEAT OF THE BIRD CENTER!!     THANKS JUDY

 

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An excellent article that illustrates what we do at the Bird Center from intake to release, and the many many hours of work given by our incredible volunteers, interns and staff .

Clinic Case Study: Raising a Baby Blue Jay

By Michele Wellard, Assistant Wildlife Rehabilitator
On May 13, this baby blue jay, likely having fallen from his nest, was brought into the Wildlife Clinic. The people who found him couldn’t locate the nest to return him, and so they brought him to the clinic. Over the last few weeks, this little blue jay has had many people involved in his care, from dedicated volunteers to our wildlife rehabilitators. Raising a songbird baby can be a real challenge, with a particular diet, a special nest to ensure his legs grow straight, and regular feedings until he’s old enough to feed himself. At the clinic we are careful to make sure the blue jay does not become tame or imprinted, so he can be released into the wild once he’s old enough.
  These photos show the little blue jay, just two or three days old, upon admission to the clinic. Songbirds like him are born naked, blind, and helpless, and with a strong urge to “gape” (i.e. beg for food). How did we know he was a bluejay? There are several clues. His dark skin is different from other baby birds, who are often more pink. He has absolutely no fuzz on him, whereas other songbird hatchlings sometimes do. The color around his beak is pink – many songbird babies have yellow “lips” called the gape flange. The gape flange, together with the beak color inside the bird’s mouth indicate to the parents exactly where to deposit the food.
 By the second week of his life, you can see many changes starting to the blue jay’s appearance, as he grows at a rapid rate. He is fed every half an hour from sun up to sundown by clinic staff and volunteers, just as his parents would. He is fed insects, a mush called “songbird diet” and some berries. You’ll see that he has become “fuzzy” in places (right), and his wing feathers are starting to develop. At this point they are still “blood feathers” (they have a blood supply to nourish the developing feather) and look like little sticks. Tiny spurts of the beginnings of feathers are beginning to emerge from his head. He has almost doubled in weight and has gotten much bigger.
 After the second week, our little patient is starting to look more like a bird, particularly a blue jay. He has gotten some real feathers and is looking distinctively fluffy. He can hold his head upright when at rest, and those blood feathers are starting to sheath of the coating and open up at the tips. He’s also starting to get the beginning of that famous jaunty blue jay crest.
 By the third week, our little bird is becoming unmistakably a blue jay.  His wing feathers are opening more, showing a variety of white and blue. The feathers on his face are also coming in, creating his distinctive facial markings. At this stage he is still a “nestling,” too young to leave the nest.  However, he is starting to have an urge to open his wings and flap a bit.  He can’t perch yet, but should be doing so soon. Then he will be moved to a small mesh cage, with a training perch to strengthen his feet and leg muscles and give him experience perching and hopping.
On May 29, the blue jay took his first flight, fluttering for a few seconds before landing on the ground.  He’s learning to perch in his small mesh indoor aviary. He will go into an outdoor aviary in early June, and be released in late June.
 By June 12, the blue jay has moved to a larger indoor aviary.  He’s sharing space with several slightly younger blue jays now, enabling them to for social bonds and care for each other.  He’s also beginning to chase crickets and meal worms.
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Volunteer Zach Mobley feeding mealworms to young Chimney Swifts.
“I am an Ann Arbor native recently moved back to the area after completing my Masters degree in Bioethics at Chicago’s Trinity International University. My interests lie in research and environmental ethics, particularly instituting regulatory programs for Controlled Substance Licensing Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUC). My professional background is in biotechnology/animal science and am currently working quality control in a chemical engineering lab. I have participated in several avian field research projects seeking out and monitoring individual nesting sites and collecting environmental data. I spent a summer in Nevada’s Virgin River Valley collecting data on the endangered Southwestern Willow Flycatcher and their threatened Salt Cedar marshland habitat. This is my first volunteer season at the Bird Center. I spend my time there administering regular feedings to hatchlings and fledglings, maintaining nest baskets, and assisting interns with medical applications. I am hoping to continue helping the center and further develop my songbird knowledge as an intern next season!
THANKS , ZACH  FOR ALL YOU DO TO HELP THE  BIRDS !!!
   Chimney Swift mom and 2 newborn babies in nest. It’s a precarious situation as you can see. Often roosting in residential chimneys, at times they fall out of the nest when only a few days old. Our swifts were brought to us by homeowners who discovered these tiny babies  in their fireplace.
 My granddaughter Luisa observing young swifts. They are extremely social, looking at us and chattering loudly when we came close.
 Swifts spend most of their lives on the wing, catching insects as they fly. They do not perch, but cling to vertical walls in chimneys.
Have you taken a walk or bike ride in Dexter’s Mill Creek Park ?
It’s especially beautiful at this time of year along the boardwalk.

Stanley’s Eagle Scout Project

Join a Go-Fund-Me to build a flight cage, make an Eagle Scout & benefit the Bird Center!

Stanleys_flight_cage

Stanley says: I created this page to help me raise the funds required to purchase materials, tools, food for volunteers, etc. I would like to get started on this project as soon as possible so that the Bird Center will have another flight cage available for them to place birds in. No donation is too small and, of course, no donation is too large either. Anything is appreciated and will help me complete this project and become an Eagle Scout. All funds that are not used for the project will be donated to the Bird Center of Washtenaw County.

More details here!

https://www.gofundme.com/stanleymisevich

Early August 2017 newsletter

 

Hard to believe it is already August. My computer needs to be retired, and I have been having problems with it, so this newsletter is late. The heavy summer heat bears down on us and we could use rain. But gardens are lush with flowers enough for picking bouquets and more than enough cucumbers to make a delicious cold summer soup.

There are 106 birds at the Center. We have plenty of Robins, several Flickers, a tiny Chipping Sparrow and 2 groups of young Chimney Swifts.
 As the season begins to wind down, some of our staff are moving on. Daniella Silver is leaving and will be travelling to Israel. Best of luck and THANK YOU for your hard work and dedication to the birds !
 
 
WEST NILE UPDATE (from the DNR)

Good Afternoon.  Since the last update on July 19th we have received results on 14 positive animals; an American Crow from Allegan County, an American Crow from Baraga County, a Red-tailed Hawk from Eaton County, an American Woodcock from Houghton County, an American Crow from Kent County, 2 American Crows from Livingston County, a Red-tailed Hawk from Oakland County, an American Crow from Ontonagon County, an American Crow from Ottawa County, and a Common Grackle, 2 American Crows, and a Cooper’s Hawk from Wayne County.  This brings the total number of West Nile Virus positive animals in 2017 to 42 from 26 counties:

Lower Peninsula
Allegan County American Crow
Barry County Wild Turkey
Eaton County American Crow, Red-tailed Hawk
Genesee County Ivory Gull
Ingham County American Crow
Jackson County American Crow
Kalamazoo County American Crow
Kent County American Crow
Lenawee County American Crow
Livingston County Great Horned Owl, American Crow (2)
Mecosta County American Crow
Missaukee County American Crow
Oakland County Common Grackle, Red-tailed Hawk, Mallard
Ottawa County—American Crow
Shiawassee County Blue Jay
Van Buren County American Crow
Washtenaw County Green Heron
Wayne County American Robin (2), Common Grackle, American Crow (2), Coopers Hawk

Upper Peninsula
Alger County American Crow
Baraga Couny Bald Eagle, American Crow (2)
Delta County American Crow, Northern Goshawk
Houghton County American Crow, American Woodcock
Luce County American Crow (2)
Marquette County Common Raven, American Crow
Menominee County American Crow
Ontonagon County American Crow

If you receive calls from the public concerning neurologically abnormal avian species, please try to collect the bird, euthanize it if necessary, and submit it to the Lab as soon as possible for examination and testing.  Depending on the species and the clinical signs observed, we may test the bird for Avian Influenza as well.  If we confirm West Nile Virus in a species in a county, we may not test additional birds from the same species for West Nile Virus but we will still necropsy the bird if submitted for examination.

If you receive a report of a die-off of bats, please collect 3-6 specimens and we will test them for Rabies and West Nile Virus and perform a necropsy.  If you receive a report of other neurologically abnormal mammalian species, please try to collect it, euthanize it if necessary (please do not damage the brain), and submit it to us as soon as possible.  Depending on the species, we will test it for a variety of diseases (Rabies, Canine Distemper, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, West Nile Virus, etc.).  There are chapters in our Wildlife Disease Manual (www.michigan.gov/wdm) on all of these diseases if you want to read more about them.

Thank you for your assistance with the collection of specimens for testing.  I will keep you updated on West Nile Virus positive animals that we examine and if you have any questions, call me or send me an email.  Tom

Thomas M. Cooley
Wildlife Biologist/Pathologist
Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Wildlife Disease Lab
4125 Beaumont Rd.
Lansing, MI  48910

Chimney Swift
Young Chimney Swifts clinging to their mesh enclosure at the Bird Center
  • Chimney Swift
Chaetura pelagica ORDER: CAPRIMULGIFORMES FAMILY: APODIDAE
 IUCN Conservation Status: Near Threatened
A bird best identified by silhouette, the smudge-gray Chimney Swift nimbly maneuvers over rooftops, fields, and rivers to catch insects. Its tiny body, curving wings, and stiff, shallow wingbeats give it a flight style as distinctive as its fluid, chattering call. This enigmatic little bird spends almost its entire life airborne. When it lands, it can’t perch-it clings to vertical walls inside chimneys or in hollow trees or caves. This species has suffered sharp declines as chimneys fall into disuse across the continent.
Food
Chimney Swifts eat airborne insects. Feeding on the wing, they capture flies, bugs, bees, wasps, ants, mayflies, beetles, fleas, and other insects. They grab large insects with their bills; small ones go right down the throat. Chimney Swifts feed over urban and residential neighborhoods, fields, grasslands, orchards, forests, and marshes. They can also pick insects from branch tips and “helicopter” down through the foliage to flush out prey. Normally diurnal foragers, they sometimes hunt for insects at night around streetlights or lit windows. They have been reported taking berries from elderberry bushes.
Nesting
Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
3-5 eggs
Number of Broods
1-2 broods
Incubation Period
16-21 days
Nestling Period
14-19 days
Egg Description
Pure white.
Condition at Hatching
Helpless and naked.
Nest Description
The nest is a half-saucer of loosely woven twigs, stuck together and cemented to the chimney wall with the bird’s glue-like saliva. Both parents independently contribute to the nest: they break off small twigs with their feet while flying through branches, then return to the nest site with the twigs in their bills. The completed nest measures 2-3 inches from front to back, 4 inches wide, and 1 inch deep.

Although they originally nested in natural sites such as caves and hollow trees of old-growth forests, Chimney Swifts now nest primarily in chimneys and other artificial sites with vertical surfaces and low light (including air vents, old wells, abandoned cisterns, outhouses, boathouses, garages, silos, barns, lighthouses, and firewood sheds). Both members of a breeding pair may fly toward several potential nest locations, then cling side by side at one particular site, with one member of the pair giving a rhythmic chipping call.
BehaviorChimney Swifts spend their lives airborne, except when they are roosting or on the nest. They perform aerial courtship displays within 2 weeks of arriving on their North American breeding grounds, forming monogamous pairs for the season.  After the young fledge, small groups of parents and young from several chimneys join larger staging flocks in bigger chimneys nearby. At the end of summer they gather into large groups to migrate to South America. During migration, as many as 10,000 swifts may circle in a tornado-like flock at dusk and funnel into a roosting chimney to spend the night. The lives of these widespread urban birds are surprisingly unstudied, because of their inaccessible nesting and roosting sites and their aerial lifestyle.
ConservationChimney Swifts have been in a long-term, rangewide decline of about 2.5% per year between 1966 and 2015, resulting in a cumulative decline of 72%, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 7.8 million, with 99% breeding in the U.S., and 1% in Canada. The 2014 State of the Birds Report listed the species as a Common Bird in Steep Decline.
 These birds probably became much more numerous with European settlement and the building of millions of chimneys. But traditional brick chimneys are now deteriorating and modern chimneys tend to be unsuitable for nest sites. Adding to the problem, some homeowners now cap their unused chimneys. Chimney cleaning during the nesting season can inadvertently destroy nests and kill swifts. Logging of old-growth forests can reduce the availability of natural nest sites. To prevent further decline, people may need to preserve existing chimneys or create new structures specifically for swift nesting; designs can be downloaded from the North American Chimney Swift Nest Site Research Project.
Migration    Long-distance migrant. Chimney Swifts breed in urban and suburban habitats across the eastern half of the United States and southern Canada. They spend the winter in the upper Amazon basin of Peru, Ecuador, Chile, and Brazil, Chimney Swifts migrate to South America each winter flying across the Gulf of Mexico or skirting it along the Texas coast (a route they’re more likely to take in spring than fall). Many swifts use one of three distinct flyways: the Atlantic coast, the east side of the Appalachians, and the Mississippi River. They fly high in the sky during the day and roost in chimneys at night.
 
Backyard Tips
Chimney Swifts may take up residence in your brick chimney if you leave the chimney cap off. It’s a good idea to keep the damper closed during summer and to schedule chimney cleanings either before or after the breeding season. If you don’t have a chimney, you can build a swift nesting tower with plans from the North American Chimney Swift Nest Site Research Project.
 The “flying cigar” silhouette of the Chimney Swift is a common sight all summer in the skies over eastern cities and towns. Lakes and rivers are especially good places to look for swifts.
WANT TO SEE SWIFTS IN ACTION???
You can watch the swifts settle in for the night : Go to Detroit Audubon.com for information about the The Swift Sanctuary to watch the daily spectacular show as up to 50,000 Chimney Swifts swirl around and around like a tornado before the avian funnel cloud swirls right down into this historic winery. A wooded area behind the historic winery abuts the Rouge River, so there may be some migrants lurking there as well. As far as we know this is THE largest roost of Chimney Swifts in North America! . Bring a lawn chair to sit and watch this incredible show. The biggest congregation of swifts in this chimney usually happens in the fall.  MID AUGUST TO END OF OCTOBER 6-9 PM
As the late summer afternoon shadows lengthen I watch a group of about 15 chimney swifts. First I hear their high chattering calls, then I watch them circling in the sky around and around until it’s dark. I don’t know where they spend the night or how far away their roost is.
 
  
Chipping Sparrow                       
 Have a splendid weekend, Perhaps a moonlight swim?