Chimney Swifts: America's Mysterious Birds Above The Fireplace

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Texas A&M University Press, 2005 - Nature - 140 pages
From the curious sounds of baby swifts chattering in the chimney to the awe-inspiring sight of birds entering their roost at dusk, like smoke swirling back into the flue, Chimney Swifts have captured the imagination of many generations of North Americans.

These sleek birds with crescent-shaped wings and acrobatic flight patterns migrate to North America from the Amazon River Basin each spring to breed and raise their young. But by the late 1980s, changes in chimney construction and homeowner attitudes had contributed to a major decline in the numbers of Chimney Swifts. Authors Paul and Georgean Kyle have worked ceaselessly in an attempt to alter that trend.

The Kyles’ eight-acre homestead has become a world-renowned Chimney Swift sanctuary and research station, with more than a dozen Chimney Swift towers of various designs located throughout their property. The swifts return each spring to many of these towers, where they rear their young and where their home life is observed and recorded in previously undocumented detail.

In Chimney Swifts, the Kyles share the knowledge they have gained, providing readers with an unprecedented peek into the secret life of these beneficial, insect-eating birds. With a non-technical narrative, numerous photos, and original drawings, they explore Chimney Swift natural history and provide practical guidelines for homeowners to coexist peacefully with these remarkable spring and summer guests.

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Natural history and Biology
An Introduction to Chimney Swifts
Documenting the Home Life of Chimney Swifts
Social Life of Chimney Swifts in North America
Maintaining and Protecting Existing Habitat
Being a good Chimney swift Landlord
Coming to the Aid of Adults and Juveniles
What to Do with a Fallen Chimney Swift Nest
The Chimney Swift Towers of Chaetura Canyon
Basics of Tower Construction and Maintenance
Monitoring nest and roost Sites
Conserving and Building for the Future

Creating New Habitat

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Page 16 - ... The eggs did not all hatch at the same time. A newborn swift weighed 1.35 grams. Hatching success was high— 77 out of 86 eggs (90.7 percent) produced young. Fledging success was 86 percent. The parents fed by regurgitation during the first week, several young receiving food at a visit. Afterwards, at each visit a parent gave one nestling a pellet of food that, at times, contained more than 200 insects. Small forms predominated, with Diptera heading the list. An adult fed the young at an average...
Page 137 - In Life Histories of North American Cuckoos, Goatsuckers, Hummingbirds and Their Allies, 271-93.
Page 137 - ... 15:68-71 1951. A new method of capturing chimney swifts. Bird-Banding, 22:80 Fleetwood, Raymond J. 1944. Swift banding in the Macon, Georgia, area. The Migrant, 15:54-55 Forbush, Edward Howe 1927. Birds of Massachusetts and other New England states, v. 2. Boston: Commonwealth of Mass. XLIX + 461pp. Ganier, Albert F. 1944. More about the chimney swifts found in Peru. The Migrant, 15:39-41 Green, Wyman R. 1930. The banding of chimney swifts at Chattanooga, Tennessee. BirdBanding, 1:104-112 1930....

About the author (2005)

Paul D. Kyle and Georgean Z. Kyle are project directors of the Driftwood Wildlife Association's North American Chimney Swift Nest Site Research Project, an all-volunteer effort to expand public awareness about the beneficial nature and the plight of Chimney Swifts. Participation across North America in this project has produced a growing number of people who are now constructing nesting towers and conducting Chimney Swift conservation projects in their own communities. The Kyles' construction guide, Chimney Swift Towers, is also available from Texas A&M University Press.

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