6:30 p.m.

FINAL UPDATE (10/8): We will convene at the Armory, as originally planned, and we will proceed on foot or by vehicle to possible roost sites, likely splitting into groups. The one-way distance could be anything from 2 blocks to 3/4 mile. We can’t predict how many we’ll see, or exactly where, but we suspect there will be swifts to follow in the downtown area. Please arrive no later than 6:30 p.m.

In the previous week, three locations have been observed hosting hundreds of swifts on different evenings. These are near:

  • 9th and Walnut
  • College and Walnut
  • Hitt and University

Many thanks to those who have helped scout! 

UPDATE (10/2): The Armory site was inactive as a Chimney Swift roost on September 29, probably due to the presence of a Cooper’s Hawk that showed considerable interest in the chimney. Chimney Swifts were still around, and we are seeking help in scouting location(s) of active roosting in advance of the 10/9 field trip. Plans for the night of the trip will depend on what we learn. Tentatively, we will still convene at the Armory, but we may walk or drive to an alternate location from there. Please check the web listing for details on the day of the trip for a definitive update.

Are you willing to help scout in advance? Please be in touch: Eric & Joanna Reuter (cherthollow@gmail.com).

ORIGINAL TRIP ANNOUNCEMENT: During fall migration, Chimney Swifts roost together in groups that often number in the hundreds or more. In the evening, as the sky really begins to darken, the birds swarm to the roost site, circle, and begin to drop into their communal roost. 

And what is their modern roosting habitat? Chimneys, of course! This genuinely exciting birding spectacle occurs right in the heart of Columbia.

Since we don’t have enough data to predict the date of peak numbers, we’re going to add a little citizen science to the mix and run the trip several times to monitor for any changes. Please also feel free to observe on your own on other dates and submit to eBird, report to the MOBIRDS listserv, and/or send a report to the field trip coordinators by email (cherthollow@gmail.com).

Meet at the Armory building at the corner of N 7th and E Ash. The chimney is best viewed from the parking lot to the east; this lot has Permit Parking Only signs, but we’ve been told that parking is allowable for roost watching after 6 p.m. Downtown parking is also available in nearby garages (free after 6 p.m.) and at meters (which must be fed until 7 p.m.). If advance scouting shows that the birds are using a different location, we may tweak the plans, so please double-check the web listing before showing up on site.

All birders, new and experienced, are welcome; why not bring a friend? Missouri Young Birder’s Club members are certainly encouraged to attend!

This trip: Monday, October 9 at 6:30 p.m. (sunset: 6:39 p.m.), led by Eric & Joanna Reuter (cherthollow@gmail.com).

Other roost-watch trips:

Read Joanna’s article on Chimney Swift roosts from the September 2023 issue of The Chat.