A Swift Night Out is a continent-wide effort to raise awareness about and encourage interest in Chimney Swifts and Vaux’s Swifts. The project was originally inspired by John Connors with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh, North Carolina. In 2001 Paul and Georgean Kyle took John’s suggestion and developed the program for the Driftwood Wildlife Association that has become a favorite late summer event for professional and amateur birdwatchers alike.
As summer draws to a close and the swifts have finished raising their young, these fascinating aerial acrobats begin to congregate in communal roosts prior to their migration in the fall. Some roosts may consist of an extended family group of a half a dozen birds or so, but the larger sites can host hundreds or even thousands of swifts! We encourage you to involve your local Audubon chapters, bird clubs, scout groups and neighbors in this exhilarating spectacle.
Here is how it works: Keep your eyes to the skies at dusk in late July and watch for areas where swifts are feeding. Look for a tall shaft, chimney or similar structure to locate where Chimney Swifts (central to east coast) or Vaux’s Swift (Pacific coast) go to roost in your area.
This year, on one night over the weekend of August 9, 10, 11 and/or September 6, 7, 8 observe the roost starting about 30 minutes before sunset and estimate the number of swifts that enter. After the last swift enters the structure, please fill out our online reporting form at http://www.chimneyswifts.org/page7.html