Growing

Both parents were flying above the Althea R. Sherman Chimney Swifts’ Tower when we arrived late this morning. They are leaving the chicks for longer periods as they hunt high flying insects to feed the fast growing threesome.

They also came by as we were leaving. This one looked down the false chimney as it floated over. Chimney Swifts are very fast flyers and it is interesting to see them slow down to look down the chimney.

We are getting a few images as they leave the chimney or when they are flying nearby. The lens needs to be fairly wide because they are so fast. We are going to try to narrow the view and be faster on pressing the shutter release to get better images of their flight.

The chicks are filling the nest and there are more groups of feathers emerging. The tail feather sheaths have lengthened considerably and their backs are filling in. The middle chick has the top of its head facing the camera. The feather cap seems to be thickening. Their eyes are still tightly shut with little indication of eyelids.

Because they fill the tiny nest, Chimney Swifts may look bigger than they are. Adults are less than 6 inches long (12-15 cm.) and have a wingspread up to 12 inches (27-30 cm.).They may weigh up to an ounce (17-30 grams). We estimate these babies to be  about 2 1/2 to 3 inches (7 to 8 cm.) long from beak to tail.

On our next visit we hope to record some sounds. The wind was quiet today but we had not brought recording equipment. Wind around the tower seems to be louder than when we are on the ground.

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