Monday, June 8, 2009
THE CHIMNEY SWIFTS OF WOLFVILLE, NS
When I landed in Halifax on May 29th my mother picked me up at the airport and we drove to the beautiful little town of Wolfville to spend the night with my Aunt Lucille and Uncle Jim.
I was quite excited about going over there, as I knew about the chance to watch the chimney swifts go in for their nightly roost and add another bird to my life list. A "life list" is the list of birds you see in your life-time, and for a birder it's exciting stuff!
To make a long story short, Robie Tuft, a long-time Wolfville resident and renowned ornithologist saved an unused factory dairy farm chimney from being destroyed and had it relocated to the centre of town, as it had been used for many years by the migratory bird, "The Chimney Swift". The chimney is now located at what is called the "Robie Tufts Nature Center" and you can read all about that and the bird by clicking the name.
Here's what I experienced. At dusk a few of the birds start circling the chimney and they do this over and over, making huge circles over the town, but always coming back to the chimney. This goes on for anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour. As they do this, more and more of the birds gather, until the whole flock is there, and as they do this, the circle gets smaller until they are just swooping and circling over the chimney. Just before the sun sets, in one magical moment, they start down the chimney, one after the other to roost for the night. It's over in a moment but so miraculous to see! I saw about 100 birds go in for the night.
It was difficult to get a good picture as it was a little rainy that night, and I didn't want to watch the whole thing through the lens, as I may never see this amazing bird show again.
The Robie Tufts Nature Centre.
A few of the Chimney Swifts going down the chimney to roost for the night.