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Chimney Swifts in our chimney

We recently bought our home and there was no cover for the chimney. We notice at about dusk every night a great many birds (we thought they were bats) flying all around the sky over the house. They are so cool to watch. Anyway, to our dismay, they disappeared inside our chimney. We now think they are chimney swifts but are not sure. Are they just migrating or would they be sticking around? We had planned on getting the fireplace cleaned and fixed up for winter but don't want to harm the birds. What should we do?

Birding Expert - George H. Harrison

It is most likely that they are chimney swifts, and they are roosting in your chimney. A few may have nested in your chimney, but the breeding season has passed, and they have gathered in large flocks, and may be migrating. Because the birds will probably move on soon, I would suggest that you delay having your chimney cleaned until you no longer see the birds in the evening. They may return in the spring, and possibly nest there next summer.

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Chimney Swift
Chaetura pelagica

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