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Swifts Over Houston

Swift Night Out

What is Swift Night Out?

Swift Night Out at Lakeview Elementary
Swift Night Out at Lakeview Elementary

An event to count the amazing swifts that gather in chimneys before beginning their fall migration to South America. Meet fellow bird enthusiasts. Learn about the lifestyle and habits of a bird that spends the whole day flying high in the sky eating mosquitoes and other small flying insects.

Swift Night Out 2017

Join us for our family friendly Swift Night Out events next fall. Check your calendars and see if you can help count the swelling numbers of Chimney Swifts migrating through Houston. We will watch Chimney Swifts swoop and soar over their roosts and count them as they enter their chimneys. We often count over 500 Chimney Swifts in some locations at this time of year! Bring a folding chair if you care to sit down and mosquito repellent! Binoculars are optional (the swifts are visible with the naked eye as they enter the chimney).

Pershing Middle School: Friday, August 25

Meet at 7:45 PM in the school's northwest parking lot off Stella Link at Bellaire. Sponsored by Houston Audubon, the Nature Discovery Center, Whole Foods Market, and Pershing Middle School.

Nature Discovery Center at Russ Pitman Park: Friday, September 8

Meet in front of the Nature Discovery Center at 7:15 PM for special activities and information about Chimney Swifts just before the count. The Nature Discovery Center will provide light snacks and drinks. The great advantage of this site is that the Chimney Swifts fly low – right over your head and are easy to get a good look at!

Sponsored by Houston Audubon and the Nature Discovery Center

Lakeview Elementary School: Friday, September 15

Join us at 7:30 PM at Lakeview Elementary in Sugar Land for Swift Night Out. Meet in the main parking lot and visit the Houston Audubon Chimney Swift information booth. We will hold a raffle and the person who comes closest to guessing the number of swifts entering the chimney will win a fun prize. Great, free, family fun! Bring lawn chairs, bug spray and binoculars. The school is located at 314 Lakeview Drive, Sugar Land, 77498. (Map). Sponsored by Houston Audubon, the Nature Discovery Center and Whole Foods Market.

Nationwide Swift Night Out

A Swift Night Out is a continent-wide effort to raise awareness about and encourage interest in Chimney Swifts and Vaux's Swifts. The project was originally inspired by John Connors with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh, North Carolina. In 2001 Paul and Georgean Kyle took John's suggestion and developed the program for the Driftwood Wildlife Association that has become a favorite late summer event for professional and amateur birdwatchers alike. It is held annually in late summer. The procedure is very simple: find a large roost of Chimney Swifts and estimate the numbers that enter it in the evening. For more information, to report sightings, and to see a map of last year's results, visit the Swift Night Out webpage.

Tips on Counting Swifts by Paul and Georgean Kyle: When counting Chimney Swifts at roosts, the numbers can become overwhelming -- especially as the numbers continue to climb as we move toward fall migration over the next few weeks. What we have found to work quite well is to use an athletic lap counter. These are available at most sporting goods stores. You can tally without taking your eyes off of the swifts.

When the numbers of swifts are relatively low, a direct count can be made -- one click per swift. At sites where the numbers exceed several hundred (or the entry rate is high), make one click per 10 swifts and multiply the end number of clicks by 10 for the total. It works really well if several counters can average their counts at the end.