Life of a Swift Counter…

See below for an account of counting the swifts at the defunct chimney stack at the Old Northern State Hospital grounds in Sedro-Woolley.  Gives you a sense of how dramatic the swift roosting experience can be…

  • Tonight (9/27) was both one of the most boring, and, the most exciting at the stack.  I started at 5:05 pm.  Fewer than 20 swifts entered the stack by 6:55 pm (i.e., almost 2 hours later!), although many were swirling around and making false passes at the stack the whole time.  Then in the next 8 minutes at least 6,150 went in.  They were going too fast to count very well.  No hesitation, no breaks, just a solid “tube” of birds.  Then a Merlin kept the remaining group high for three minutes, and grabbed a swift at 7:06.  It took the swifts three minutes after that to come back down to the stack, and they wasted NO time getting in.  They mostly went in in rapid “clumps” of 1-200, until the last 3,200 went in in less than 4 minutes!
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