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Chimney Swifts in North Carolina

In the past few weeks, chimney swifts have been roosting by the thousands in downtown Raleigh (they have largely migrated south by now).  if you were lucky enough to view the spectacle, count yourself lucky.  Historically nesting in large hollow trees, chimney swifts switched to man-made structures as large trees were removed for farmland.  Now swifts are largely dependent on chimneys and other hollow structures for nesting and roosting habitat.  Unfortunately, the same methods used to exclude squirrels and raccoons from chimneys also keep out chimney swifts.  With new trends in flueless chimneys and the propensity to cap existing chimneys, appropriate habitat for these birds is decreasing at an alarming rate.

Wake Audubon is raising money to build a chimney swift roost at Prairie Ridge Ecostation to raise awareness and to facilitate research and observation of these fascinating birds.

Chimney swifts can be seen across the state, and represent an excellent way to raise awareness for bird conservation.  Because they rely on man-made structures and are a largely urban species, they provide an excellent opportunity to easily bring people to a local roost site and see this dynamic and gregarious species.  If you are interested in raising awareness of  chimney swift conservation, would like to contribute to the Prairie Ridge Chimney Swift Roost, or would like information on how to build a roost site in your town or city, please contact either Scott Anderson (NC Birding Trail Coordinator), or John Connors (919-733-7450; NC Museum of Natural Sciences).

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