Monday, June 16, 2008

Chaetura pelagica

About a week and a half ago, as my wife and I were sitting in our living room reading, we heard some chittering and fluttering coming from the chimney. I figured a bird had flown into, and then gotten stuck in our chimney. Fortunately (for the birds), it was late in the evening and I couldn't call anyone to come take a look.

The following day, I decided to browse the internet to see how I could safely get the bird out of my chimney myself. I guess I'm too miserly to pay someone to do a job which , at first glance, appears rather easy to do. Of course that's gotten me in trouble in the past ... like the time I wanted to change the radiator in my car ... and probably will get me in trouble in the future. As I was checking things out, I noticed a few pages which talked about Chimney Swifts (Chaetura pelagica). I had never heard of them before. One of the links brought me to eNature, which has a series of pictures and audio for a variety of birds. I clicked on the audio for the Chimney swift. Lo and behold, that was what was in my chimney!

They're a very beautiful bird, IMO, and their call is nice as well. It's certainly much more melodious than the sqwak which comes from the Blue Jay.

Well, last night as my wife and I were arriving home from my parents I heard several Chimney Swifts in our tree and saw several birds with the characteristic swept back wings flying overhead. It was at that point that I saw one bird fly towards our house, make a ninety degree turn downwards and shoot straight down into our chimney! I was stunned, and it was an awesome sight.

So, I'm the proud supporter of at least one family of Chimney Swifts. You can click here to read more about them.

Also, if you feel that you might have Chimney Swifts in your chimney, you're stuck with them for the season. Chimney Swifts are protected by State Wildlife Codes and Federal law under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1916. If you don't want them to return the following year, simply place a cap on your chimney. As for my wife and I, I think we'll be happy to have them return year after year. After all, they eat 1/3rd of their weight in insects each and every night.

No comments: