Chimney Swifts

Chimney Swift in flight © Shawn P. Carey
Chimney Swift © Shawn P. Carey

The Chimney Swift (Chaetura pelagica) is one of the most aerial birds in world. They eat entirely in flight—dining on numerous species of insects—and also drink, collect nesting material, and possibly even copulate "on the wing." What makes them even more unique is that they are the only breeding bird in Massachusetts that builds its nest and successfully raises its young in chimneys. Learn more about this species > 

While Chimney Swifts may roost in large numbers in big chimneys or airshafts, only single pairs nest in house chimneys. If a homeowner determines that there is a nest in the chimney, there is no reason for concern. The presence of a nest will not cause a fire or spread disease, and in most circumstances can be left alone. The only time it's necessary to intervene is if an active nest has fallen onto the damper or into the fireplace. Find out what to do >