Chimney Swifts

chimney swift © Dominic Sherony
© Dominic Sherony

The chimney swift (Chaetura pelagica) is one of the most aerial of birds. They eat entirely in flight, dining on numerous species of flies, beetles, termites, flying ants, bees, wasps, and moths. In addition to feeding, swifts drink, collect nesting material, and possibly even copulate “on the wing”.

What makes them even more unique is that they are the only Massachusetts bird that builds its nest and successfully raises its young in chimneys. Learn More 

In large chimneys or airshafts they may roost in large numbers, but when they nest in a house chimney, there is only a single pair. If a homeowner determines that there is a nest in the chimney, usually by the loud chattering of the young as the parents enter with food, there is no reason for concern.

The presence of a nest will not cause a fire or spread disease. The only time it is necessary to intervene is if an active nest has fallen onto the damper or into the fireplace. In this case, every attempt should be made to return the young to the chimney so the parents can continue to care for them. Find out how 

Throughout most of their range, chimney swifts are declining. This chatty, enigmatic summer breeder needs our help. You can take action to protect these birds by mapping the location of their roosting and nesting sites. If we can protect these sites, we can help these birds thrive. Learn More