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Chimney Swift bird picture

Chimney Swift (Choetura pelagica) - 5.40 inches

The Chimney Swift is not a Swallow, although he has been confused with the latter species so long and so thoroughly that he is better known by the name Chimney Swallow. But the two types of birds are structurally very different, however similar general appearances and feeding habits seem to be.

In color this little Swift is a delightful smoky black graded to a dull gray on the throat ; he may be readily identified by the elongated shafts or spiked tips of the tail feathers which he uses as a fan-shaped brace when he clings to the chimney wall, and by the deeply set eye and overhanging eyebrow.

The slender wings, with their long primaries and powerful muscles, the broad chest, and the small body, all enable him to prolong his flight for an almost indefinite length of time. The wings are used rapidly and not at all with the steady measured strokes common to some of the Swallows. The nest is a peculiar hollowed bracket, built of dried twigs well cemented together with the gluey saliva of the bird, and fastened to the rough wall of the chimney somewhere from five to ten feet from the top.

This remarkable structure is anything but secure, and when the lusty young birds become restless it has an extremely awkward way of dumping the whole family down in the fireplace ; then the rasping, ear-splitting chirps of the youngsters are only comparable to the filing of a saw - yes, twenty saws!

There are usually from four to six pure white eggs in a nest, and presumably most farmers' wives wish they would never hatch out. The bird is common throughout eastern North America.