Saturday, May 26, 2007

Swift rescue

I know the photo is awful, but that sooty black blob in the middle of the towel is a chimney swift that was caught in our furnace today. I was down in the basement late this afternoon changing pooty boxes when I heard this odd scratching sound coming from the furnace pipe. Sure enough when my husband took the pipe leading from the chimney off, down under the cover of the furnace lay this very quiet swift. He scooped it out and we went outside and set it free.

We usually have a half-dozen or so chimney swifts chattering away over the neighborhood and just yesterday I was wondering alound to my husband about where they nest and roost for the night. Not many people have chimneys they can use anymore. Chimney swifts aren't able to perch like other birds because of the way their feet are arranged - they cling to vertical surfaces and build their half-saucer shaped nests from twigs and other materials glued together with their own spit. Neat! The DH will get a cap for our chimney so another doesn't find its way in, but I do wonder what it was doing in there in the first place. I may have to have a look and see if I can spot the beginnings of a nest in our chimney.

13 comments:

KGMom said...

Poor bird. Glad you rescued it, even if it was a bit sooty.
When we all have chimney caps, where do the birds go to nest?

Susan Gets Native said...

Laura, the Swift-Savior!
I love swfits...I wonder if I could talk Geoff into letting me build a tower chimney for them in the yard?
One of our rehabbers had a whole clutch of them to raise last year, and she had to take them everywhere she went, because they cried for food every 15 minutes!
I am so glad you were down there changing the pooties!

John said...

I think that swifts are considered a species of concern because of the decline in suitable nesting sites. It seems that most houses have capped chimneys these days. One thing I wonder about is where the swifts nested before there were chimneys. There number must have been much less earlier than it is now.

LauraHinNJ said...

KGMom: That's the problem, I guess. They'll also use hollowed out trees, but how many of them are left?

I'd leave ours open, but I'm not sure that it'd be safe -there's no escape when one falls down.

My neighbor has a real chimney with a fireplace, but he has these decorative toppers that are very narrow and not suitable, I guess.

SGN: Glad I was down in the basement too and wonder how long it had been stuck! I don't imagine there would be any way for it to climb back up the furnace pipe that leads to the chimney.

I've heard also that you have to be careful when releasing them in the late summer; in that it's important to release them in an area where there are colonies of swifts so they will know where to roost, etc.

Mary said...

Awww. I'm glad you were able to hear the poor thing and that your husband was able to set it free. I hope it found its way OK.

Floridacracker said...

Catching up ...
Your bog plants were beautiful. Pitcher plants are so exotic when they bloom.
Pooty box? Is this a bunny related thing?

Nice rescue.

The Borland essay was nice too. I just hope it's not necessary to remind Americans that those sites were battle grounds in WWII. Those names should be seared into our collective memory.

mon@rch said...

I would consider it an honor to have them nesting in my chimney! Glad you were able to rescue it!

MojoMan said...

Good work, Laura and DH!

For all kinds of cool info about swifts, including how to build a tower for them, check out:

http://www.chimneyswifts.org/

Dave said...

Good girl Laura! With a good rescue and release like that it should make for a good weekend.

Larry said...

Poor bird-trying move in and all his plans went up in smoke!

vicki said...

Good news that you rescued your swift. And your bog plants in bloom are simply stunning. Best of all, you have Sunshine in your neck of the woods! She's lovely, Laura.

Kelly said...

My mom once called me over to rescue a swift that was clinging to the flocked wallpaper in her bathroom. Amazingly, I was able to capture it and let it go. What a beautiful, mouse-like bird.

Ken Schneider said...

This pair of Oystercatchers at Barnegat Inlet beach seem to be in a hopeless situation. There was nothing we could do to help.

See: http://blog.rosyfinch.com/