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DVOC Field Trip Report
by Jane Henderson

September 10, 2007

The Chimney Swift Phenomenon Continues!

On Monday evening, September 10, at 6:30 PM, thirty people gathered in the schoolyard of the John Story Jenks School in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia to witness the annual Chimney Swift migration spectacle.

As always, the birds cooperated. At first, only two or three birds tentatively circled the chimney. Then, as 7:00 approached, many more birds arrived and began circling. Then the first group started funneling down the chimney. By 7:45 PM the last of the estimated 2000 birds had gone down into the chimney.

Observers included DVOC and Wyncote Audubon members as well as neighborhood residents. Some had brought folding chairs, while others sat on the ground or against a tree trunk. Many people brought young children.

Cheryl Massaro of the Chestnut Hill Local got everyone’s attention, and gave a brief introduction, after which I gave a short talk about the birds. I showed them some pictures which included a silhouette of a flying Chimney Swift. I also talked about their typical behavior and their migration route. The birds will continue to use this chimney, as well as other local chimneys, until early October, when the last of them will have migrated out of our area.

Everybody had a good time. When the last bird disappeared down the chimney, the audience applauded.

Jane Henderson


Pictures by Jane Henderson