[Tweeters] Vaux swifts in Port Angeles

Larry Schwitters leschwitters at me.com
Mon Aug 11 09:48:52 PDT 2014

The norm is one one per site and one summer one brood. I don't know that two nests have ever been documented with Chimney or Vaux's, but a second nesting attempt has. And there is this breaking news!


> 1033 E. WASHINGTON IOWA CITY, IA 52240-5248


> For Immediate Release - August 7, 2014

> Contact: Barbara Boyle (319) 668-1728



> About: Chimney Swifts Return to Historic Sherman Tower!


> Everyone associated with the restoration of Althea R. Sherman's historic Chimney Swifts Tower had given up hope that the swifts would nest this year - their first chance since the tower was re-erected last year. But when Sherman Project Director Barbara Boyle recently checked the structure, she was delighted to find a new swift nest, with five white eggs - attached inside the chimney in exactly the spot where the swifts had nested year-after-year for Althea Sherman!


> Typically, swifts nest only once a year, although second nests are not unusual. Given the lateness of this nesting, it could be either a second nesting or possibly the first by a pair who had failed in an earlier attempt.


> Chimney swifts build a nest from small twigs, glued to the inside of a chimney by a sticky saliva they produce. They usually have clutches of 4-5 eggs and incubate for about nineteen days. As the young swifts grow they can leave the nest and move around inside the chimney by using the specialized feet that allow them to tightly grip the wall. As their wings strengthen, they practice flying inside the chimney, before finally joining their parents in the breathtaking aerial flights that swifts are known for.


> In 1915, Iowa ornithologist Althea R. Sherman designed the very first chimney swift tower and had it built in her backyard in the tiny town of National. She was the very first person - using this unique structure - to observe the complete nesting cycle of the swifts. She studied swifts in this tower for eighteen years and became the world's leading authority on the species.


> When the Althea R. Sherman Project put the deteriorating tower into protective storage back in 1992, swifts were still regularly nesting in it. Project members are thrilled that the swifts have returned the very first year the tower was again available to them.


> Over the last week three of the five eggs have hatched and the parents are busily feeding them.


> Although video cameras are in place in the restored tower, a Internet linkup has not yet been established. The Sherman Project hopes to have these cameras up on the Web soon. Please check the website (althearsherman.org) for more information and for ways that you can support this ongoing work.

Eveline Bull in La Grande, working for the Forest Service, did a lot of heavy duty research with Vaux's and published a bunch of it.


Larry Schwitters Issaquah
On Aug 11, 2014, at 7:09 AM, judy mullally wrote:

> I wish I had the way with words of a Jeff Gibson. I often think of his posts as I encounter yet another Mountain Beaver tunnel under my yard or watch the boldness of "my" Douglas squirrels and many other nature moments. Yesterday was one of those rare days when the sun was shining, the fog was absent, the winds calm and the temperature above 60 here on the bluffs above the Strait east of PA.


> For weeks I've been listening with trepidation as the number and intensity of squeaks from my chimney guests seemed to diminish. I had had to rescue one adult Vaux swift from my fire box a week ago, hopeful that it hadn't been there too long or inhaled too much residual ash and that it's young weren't compromised by reduced feeding.


> Then glorious afternoon self-indulgence on the back deck brought a special treat as the skies filled with 15 to 20 Vaux swifts circling, chittering and just generally putting on a spectacular show for over half an hour.

> In previous years I'd seen sudden appearance of a small group about the time the young from my chimney were about to fledge, and I've often wondered if there were some social imperative where adults from "around" came by to encourage those about to fledge and to aid in tutoring flight skills. I'd always assumed I only had one nest per season. Now I'm wondering whether there were more nests than I thought possible. Based on the sound level it hadn't seemed likely, but this sudden simultaneous appearance of so many in such a close, choreographed event brings questions to my mind.


> Does anyone have any info on whether there are social gathering around fledging activity or whether I'm a better hostess than I thought?

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