Friday, September 07, 2007

Watching Asheville's Swifts Go Down the Drain

Ever watched Asheville's chimney swifts do their thing?

This is the time of year to watch them put on a show as they fly in circles around a chimney before flying inside for the night. It's a lot more exciting than it sounds. Chimney swifts really do live in chimneys, and watching them swarm by the hundreds into the flue is something else.

For an evocative description of the 2005 official swift watch at the Grove Arcade (which attracted hundreds of people), go here.

There are five or six swifts now. Soon, a dozen. Then more. And still more. Hundreds move frenetically, round and round, in and out of one another. It's hard to believe there's not a mid-air collision.

Their aim - the chimney atop the Grove Arcade. Like black water down an avian drain, the swallow-like birds are pulled to it.

If a big enough group of swifts gather (as they often do this time of year), it's really something to watch them put on a show as they all fly in.

I like to pick a bird and watch it make as many laps around the chimney as I can before I lose sight of it. It makes me dizzy to do this, but it’s fun.

Asheville has a brand-new Yahoo group devoted to watching the swifts, which historically gather not only at the Grove Arcade but also at Asheville Middle and other sites around town. Join the Asheville Swift Watch Yahoo group here.

Click here to join swiftwatch
Click to join swiftwatch

If there's an official swift watch this month before they migrate on, I'll post about it here.

1 comment:

Jennifer Saylor said...

The word from head swift-watcher Charlie T. is that there are 1000 swifts at the Grove Arcade already, and there WILL be an official watch this year.

Other local swift-watching sites may include UNCA, the church on Patton Ave. by Anders-Rice Funeral Home, Asheville Middle, Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, and some house on Chestnut St.

Join the swiftwatch group for details.