Swifts

Chimney Swift Chaetura pelagica 
Chimney Swifts are the only Swift that is known to have occurred in Duval County, with the oldest record noted as 23 June 1930. They arrive in early spring (last week of March) and are constant throughout the summer into the first week of November, where they abruptly disappear. A notable late date for them is 14 November 1958 (Stevenson & Anderson, 1994). You can find them virtually anywhere throughout the county and you’re certain to hear or see a few on any outing to a local park.

There is a spectacular phenomenon that occurs each fall as they start staging for their fall migration, and any local birdwatcher should take the time to go witness the spectacle at least once. What I’m referring to is the Chimney Swift roost at Riverside Avenue Christian Church at the corner of Riverside Avenue and Cherry Street. Since at least 1938, the swifts have been congregating at this location starting around the last week of September through the second week of October (Patterson, 2009). There can be as many as a few hundred to several thousand birds in the cluster, and it is amazing to see them enter the chimney right at dusk.

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