Fake chimneys for birds that need vertical hollows to rest
By JANET McCONNAUGHEY and JAY REEVES
The Associated Press
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - People from New England to Texas are building fake chimneys as nesting spots and migration motels for chimney swifts, little birds that are dwindling in numbers as the architectural landscape changes.
Most new houses don't have chimneys. Homeowners are lining existing chimneys with metal for safety or capping them to keep animals out.
So conservationists are building big chimney-like birdhouses for swifts, which can rest only by hanging from their toes on a rough, vertical surface and bracing themselves with stubby tailfeathers.
When swifts migrate, chittering clouds of birds circle big chimneys at dusk and drop into the opening a few at a time in a "swiftnado."
Old schools and industrial sites with chimneys big enough for migrating swifts to roost also are being torn down.
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