Frequently Asked Questions

What do they look like?

Chimney Swifts are graceful, yet stout-looking birds that have dark, “sooty”- colored feathers. Chimney Swifts have been described as flying cigars. This humorous description is actually rather accurate when they are in flight.

What do they eat?

Insects! Chimney Swifts eat up to half of their own weight in flying insects, including pests, every day.

Where do they live?

In the summer, chimney swifts live east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States and southern Canada. They migrate to South America for winter, with some flying as far south as northern Chile.  Chimney Swifts do not perch and can only roost vertically on rough masonry surfaces. Historically they lived in large hollow trees, but today they rely almost entirely on man-made structures such as chimneys for nesting and roosting at night.

Where do they nest?

Chimney swifts nest one pair per masonry chimney. A chimney swift nest consists of about 250 small twigs which they snap off from trees and shape into a half-cup nest using their saliva as glue.  The nest may loosen from the chimney during a rainstorm, especially if the chimney has a build-up of creosote.  

Keep Chimney Swifts common in Wisconsin