On summer evenings, about an hour or two before the sun goes down, chimney swifts dart back and forth across the sky above my garden. I absolutely love to watch them. They look like they are having so much fun!
I do not know if the chimney swifts I see are courting potential partners, zipping around catching delicious insects for supper, or if they are playing a game, but I do know that I find them delightful!
You will never get an easy, close-up view of a chimney swift ambling across the lawn, perched on a tree branch, or bathing in a birdbath. Chimney swifts have very small legs which are not good for walking, perching, or wading.
Chimney swifts do almost everything while airborne. They eat insects on the fly. They even bathe on the fly by swooping down and skimming across water.
When it’s time for chimney swifts to sleep, they roost in (summertime and therefor fire-free) chimneys. They cling to the interior walls of chimneys with their toes. Because they roost inside chimneys, it is highly unlikely you will ever see a chimney swift during its downtime.
All of which is just to say that since you will probably never see a chimney swift who is not airborne, you should familiarize yourself with the chimney swift’s silhouette as seen from below. That way, when you see birds of the same shape darting back and forth across the early-evening, summer sky, you can be pretty sure you are watching your neighborhood chimney swifts.
Chimney swifts are migratory birds who winter in South America, so keep your eyes peeled while the weather is hot, y’all!