CHIMNEY SWIFT

CHIMNEY SWIFT(Chaetura pelagica) – (See images below)
DESCRIPTION: The Chimney Swift is mostly dark grey for the top parts, and lighter grey for the under parts. The wing shape in flight looks a like a boomerang. The bill is very short but the mouth opens very wide. The bill, feet and legs are black. The legs are very short. Sexes are similar. The bird is around 14 cm (5 inches) long.
VOICE: https://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Chaetura-pelagica – While flying this bird often vocalizes when not swallowing insects.
NAME: The English name of this bird stems from its nesting habits, inside chimneys. The Latin genus name ‘Chaetura’ means ‘bristled tail’, and the Latin species name ‘pelagica’ means ‘marine’, but this was an error as the bird is a terrestrial species (Choate).
HABITAT: This bird spends most of its life flying, notably above urban areas.
DIET: Insects caught on the fly.
NESTING: In order for the nest to hang on the vertical surface of chimneys, the bird uses its glue-like saliva. Because they need a lot of saliva for this purpose, the salivary glands will double in size during the breeding season. Around four or five white eggs are laid, incubated by both parents, who also both feed the chicks.
DISTRIBUTION: The bird’s breeding range includes the south eastern part of Canada and the eastern half of the USA. It migrates to the north western part of South America for the winter.
DISTRIBUTION MAP: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimney_swift#/media/File:Chimney_Swift_range.png
ON PEI: There have only been occasional sightings of chimney swifts on Prince Edward Island, and it does not breed on the island.
CONSERVATION: This bird is listed as ‘threatened’ by COSEWIC.  Building standards have evolved over the years and there are now fewer suitable chimneys left for its nesting needs. It does not seem that this bird is capable of returning to nesting in its natural environment to maintain its populations levels, so there are projects to help find suitable nesting sites. Here’s a case of a closed generator with a large chimney, now hosting up to 2,000 swifts.
NOTES: The Chimney swift is thus named because it adapted so well to human habitats that it started building its nest inside chimneys instead of caves or hollow trees.
The swift cannot perch due to the configuration of its feet, which only allow it to cling to vertical surfaces, aided in this by the stiff ends of its tail feathers.
In the winter, chimney swifts will roost in groups inside chimneys to keep warm, just like bats do.
SIMILAR SPECIES: Cliff Swallow
REFERENCES: https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/chimney-swift
https://www.borealbirds.org/bird/chimney-swift
https://www.mba-aom.ca/jsp/toc.jsp (Maritimes Breeding Bird Atlas)
American Bird Conservancy (Chimney Swift)
https://www.csia.org/chimneyswift.html (Chimney Safety Institute of America)
https://www.ontario.ca/page/chimney-swift-general-habitat-description(Species at Risk)
Farm Biodiversity Species at Risk (Chimney Swift)
https://nature.mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/chimney-swift (Department of Conservation)

ChimneySwift - USNPS, Isle Royale National Park
ChimneySwift – USNPS, Isle Royale National Park