Growing Up

Today the Chimney Swift juveniles were very quiet except for one brief outburst of buzzing. They occasionally spoke quietly in adult-like chittering and small chirps.

They should soon be flying outside the chimney. They seem to do most of their flapping and  practice flying inside the chimney during the night.

This one (above) felt the need to stretch while the others napped. There was only one brief flight when four scattered in a flurry or wings. They quickly returned to the tight grouping we mostly see. The huddle moved up and down a few inches, usually when one was trying to push in toward the middle of the group.

We think that the youngest chick usually gets the preferred spot in the middle underneath everyone else.

The tail on the top chick shows the special tail feathers that swifts have. The spines are very tough and are used to help them cling to vertical surfaces. When clustered their wings often overlap, reminiscent of the hug we saw a parent give them when they were still pink and bristly.

The fifth one is underneath these juveniles. The top one is squinting through what look like a bit of insect. A parent came in one time to feed the top chick in the group while we were taking a break. This must be the one. Their wide gapes go almost to the corners of their eyes.

We had hoped to see the parents encouraging the eldest on its first flight out of the chimney today. Perhaps next time.

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