On Monday evening, September
12, a group of 15 DVOC members gathered at the Dobson
School on Umbria Street in the Manayunk section of Philadelphia to
witness the annual spectacle of hundreds of Chimney Swifts funneling into
the school's huge chimney. That evening we estimated that we saw a total
of about 400 birds.
From late August until the end of September, the swifts will use the chimney
at Dobson on their annual migration route south to Peru, Brazil and other
South American locations. In previous years, around the 20th of September,
we have counted up to 10,000 swifts at this location.
Optional sites to experience this spectacle are Shawmont
School at Eva Street and Shawmont Avenue in the Roxborough section
of Philadelphia (very few there this year), and Jenks School on Germantown
Avenue in Chestnut Hill.
As the sun is setting during the month of September in our part of the
world (Delaware Valley), listen for the chitter of Chimney Swifts and
try to follow the flock and locate their roost site. In September 2004
my husband and I came upon a site in Gettysburg, just this way, by following
the chittering birds to a chimney.
A friend recently told me there is a site in Horsham where Chimney Swifts
roost. If anyone knows about this we would like to know.
(The following additional information on Chimney Swifts
in Philadelphia is provided by Judy Stepenaskie)
I wanted to report about the chimney swift roost
at the Jenks school in the Chestnut Hill section of Phila. Last Weds.
9/21/05, an estimated 2100 swifts funneled in for the night. Sunset was
at 6:59. The swifts started going into the chimney at 7:09, with the last
one entering at 7:18. Roughly the same number of swifts were there last
year, and neighbors reported that they have roosted there for years. Based
on last year's numbers, many of them will be leaving within the next week.
The school is located at the corner of Germantown Ave. and Southampton
St., and runs along the entire block on Southampton, between Germantown
Ave. and Ardleigh. The chimney is located near Southampton St., and this
is a good spot for viewing. Another viewing location is from the schoolyard
on the opposite side of the schol from Southampton St. Walkways from both
Germantown Ave. and Ardleigh St. lead to the schoolyard. Parking is available
in the lot for the Farmer's market on Southampton St. Another parking
lot is on Germantown Ave., up the street a little from Southampton St.
Pictures by Bert Filemyr