Friday, August 20, 2010

August 20, 2010 Chimney Swifts successful nesting!

The Chimney Swift, also known as the "flying cigar" is a relatively small bird, about 12-14 centimetres long, with a sooty brown, cigar shaped body and long slender wings. In flight, it can be distinguished by its acrobatic and erratic flight pattern. This "aerial insectivore" spends most of its life flying and foraging in the air, catching insects in flight. If they are in your neighborhood, you will be sure to hear their high-pitched twittering sounds as they fly overhead.
For the past 6 years we've been fortunate to have a pair nesting in our chimney and we have been able to observe the young a few times a week as they progressed through their stages of development. This year the adults were successful in raising 2 young despite a late start, likely due to heavy rains which destroyed the nest during the latter part of June.
In Ontario, The Chimney Swift is considered a threatened species and as such is protected under Ontario's Endangered Species Act, 2007. It has also been assessed nationally as endangered by the federal Committee on the Status on Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC).

Adult on nest July 15, 2010

Adult on nest July 24, 2010

Two newly hatched young, July 28, 2010. The third egg didn't hatch.

The young swifts grow quickly and now show feather tracks, August 2, 2010.

Adult sitting on nest with young, August 4, 2010.

An adult Chimney Swift preforming wing clapping. When alarmed at nest site an adult raises wings fully outstretched, perpendicular to body, while clinging to the chimney wall. It leaps backwards and flaps its wings together 3-6 times in a row. This behavior is to startle intruders. August 6, 2010

The young with eyes still closed were ready for a feed. August 6, 2010

Just enough room for the adult, as the young grow quickly. August 8, 2010

Eyes now open, August 10, 2010

The young giving a loud rasping call, "raah, raah, raah", in response to my presence. August 12, 2010.

On August 13, 2010 the young had left the nest and were clinging to the chimney wall along with the adult.

Close-up showing adult on left. August 13, 2010.

On August 19, 2010, the young are clinging to chimney wall and exercising wings.

A view of the empty Chimney Swift nest located 12 feet down our chimney. The Chimney Swift gathers nesting material in flight. Using their sticky saliva, which acts like a cement, they build their nest of twigs. The saliva is produced from their seasonally enlarged sublingual glands.

One young still in chimney on August 27, 2010. Check out the sharp claws!

A view of the bottom of the chimney reveals a few primary feathers, eggs shells, bird dropping, nesting material and other debris from years of nesting in our chimney.

1 comment:

swiftcareontario said...

How absolutely stunning! You are so fortunate to have had this opportunity to see these amazing birds up close. After successfully raising orphans in the past two years, we have opened a dedicated Chimney Swift rehab centre to care for orphaned, displaced or injured birds.