Windy Day at the Chimney Swifts’ Tower

The wind from the south was blowing very loudly when we climbed the steps up to the observation area this afternoon. We had hoped to record the pretty chittering language that the juveniles now speak. We heard no infantile buzzing today.  The wind was so noisy around the tower and in the neighboring trees that even with a muff on the recorder’s stereo internal microphones, the swifts’ faint voices were mostly inaudible against the wind sounds.

In fact, it was so windy no birds were not flying. There are usually swallows kiting about the tower, plus robins, sparrows and black birds nearby. No one appeared. We also did not see the adult Chimney Swifts and could only sometimes see four of the juveniles through the observation window and peek holes. Usually we could find one, two or three at a time as they moved about.

The one above spent a little time near the nest and then moved to a side wall. The camera was peeking through the top hole and the small LED flash light was at the middle hole shining slightly upward. This made an interesting silhouette of the bird’s head on the wall. Usually soft shadows are desired. In the dark chimney light is needed to keep the shutter speed fast enough to minimize blurs. This light angle also showed some of the open weaving of the nest. The dots of light are shining through the nest.

The youngsters now look like adults, more so than just two days ago when we last there. These two stayed closest together even when the other two were near. They are probably the youngest.

We hope there are still five juveniles in the chimney. If one took flight this morning before the hot wind picked up, we hope it found a safe roost. As the youngsters leave the tower, our visits will come to an end. We hope for several more opportunities to observe and document this very special family in their historic tower.

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