We are looking for volunteers for our Sixth Annual Ann Arbor-Washtenaw County Chimney Swift count, August 13, 14, and 15. Watching Chimney Swifts enter their roosts at dusk is a spectacular sight. Volunteers will choose a known Chimney Swift roosting location and stake it out before dusk, counting the Swifts as they enter the chimney, as darkness falls. Show up between 8:00-8:15 p.m. and stay to count them until the last Swift descends into the chimney. Sometimes they drop so fast, you have to count by 5’s, 10’s and 20’s, all in a swirling tornado of birds.
You can sign up for one night/one location at a time, or count each night of the weekend. If you know of an active roost that’s not listed, email Juliet Berger and she will add it to the sign up. This is the perfect event for social distancing. One household may sign up per Chimney Swift Roost. This year, again, you can bring your friends if you feel safe together outside.
Chimney Swifts are in steep decline across North America, so let’s help find out how they are doing in Washtenaw County. Habitat loss is one reason, as well as decline of the insects they eat, and other unknown factors. We are helping bird science by conducting this count! Bring your household along, to show them how these very cool aerial insectivores share our cities and towns with us. NOTE: Occasionally the Swifts will not use a particular location on a given night due to a predator such as a Cooper’s Hawk, or another issue. In that case, “No Swifts” will still be good information for us! Email Juliet Berger with your results at or after the survey, and post it on eBird if you have an account. Please share your eBird list with usernames Washtenaw Audubon Society and NAPBBS. Thanks for your help!!