Friday, March 13, 2009

Chimney swifts headed back

Paul and Georgean Kyle with the Driftwood Wildlife Association sent out an e-mail alert last night, announcing that the chimney swifts are enroute back to Texas!

"The first Chimney Swifts of the season have been sighted on the Gulf Coast returning from their wintering grounds in South America," the Kyles wrote. "As in past years, we will plot the swifts' movements northward over the next few months. Please let us know when you see the first ones in your area. This year's results will be posted on our website at along with past years' efforts."

"Last year the first sighting report we received was on March 1st," they wrote me later, "and that was actually very early. Sightings around the middle of March in Texas are about average."

I know we have this species in our neighborhood because we spot them in the evening, winging over our house. They also have a distinctive twittering call. (Listen to it on All About Birds.) In a way, they look like bats when they're flying.

You can read more about chimney swifts in my article, "Chirrups in the Chimney," Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine, March 2006. They're cool birds!

UPDATE–MARCH 23, 2009–Pretty sure we spotted some chimney swifts this evening, flying over just northeast of our house. Now if only the martins will return, too!

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