Monday, September 14, 2009

Swift Night Out is Friday, Sept. 25

Seventh Annual Swift Night Out: An Event for the Birds
Friday, Sept. 25 (rain date Saturday Sept. 26)
7-8 p.m.
The Grove Arcade, downtown Asheville

An all-ages nature and community event, Swift Night Out marks the peak of Asheville’s avian aerial show as chimney swifts swarm the sky above the Grove Arcade.

A swirling mass of thousands of birds flies in sweeping circles in the sky…it’s not Animal Planet or National Geographic, it’s downtown Asheville -- where chimney swifts flock in groups of up to 5,000 before their long migration south to Peru.

Every year swifts gather in chimneys all over Asheville before their journey, and the Grove Arcade is commonly home one of the largest colonies. Forming huge, moving patterns in the sky every evening at dusk, the swifts circle their home chimney as a group thousands strong before flying in for the night.

Swifts are a protected species. Their habitat (hollow trees and chimneys), which is not protected, is declining, so the swifts are too. A decline in swifts means an increase in summertime pest insects, as swifts eat mosquitoes and gnats.

“Swift scouts” are needed to check on the birds through September – just a quick peep around 7 or 8 p.m. to be sure hawks haven’t chased them to another downtown chimney. Organizers have generous help from local birders, but we welcome more to regularly check on the Grove Arcade swifts and other colonies around town.

Swift Night Out 2009 is sponsored by Asheville PARC and the Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society

Join the Asheville community swift watch to learn more about watching swifts and spotting colonies.

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