Chimney Swifts
America's Mysterious Birds above the Fireplace
Natural History - Ornithology
5.75 x 8.5, 152 pp.
41 color photos., 4 b&w photos., 28 line drawings., Map.
Pub Date: 02/22/2005
Louise Lindsey Merrick Natural Environment Series
  cloth
Price:        $34.00 s

978-1-58544-370-3
  paper
Price:        $16.95

978-1-58544-371-0
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Published by Texas A&M University Press
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Chimney Swifts

America's Mysterious Birds above the Fireplace

By Paul D. Kyle and Georgean Z. Kyle

From the curious sounds of baby swifts chattering in the chimney to the awe-inspiring sight of birds entering their roost at dusk, like smoke swirling back into the flue, Chimney Swifts have captured the imagination of many generations of North Americans.

These sleek birds with crescent-shaped wings and acrobatic flight patterns migrate to North America from the Amazon River Basin each spring to breed and raise their young. But by the late 1980s, changes in chimney construction and homeowner attitudes had contributed to a major decline in the numbers of Chimney Swifts. Authors Paul and Georgean Kyle have worked ceaselessly in an attempt to alter that trend.

The Kyles’ eight-acre homestead has become a world-renowned Chimney Swift sanctuary and research station, with more than a dozen Chimney Swift towers of various designs located throughout their property. The swifts return each spring to many of these towers, where they rear their young and where their home life is observed and recorded in previously undocumented detail.

In Chimney Swifts, the Kyles share the knowledge they have gained, providing readers with an unprecedented peek into the secret life of these beneficial, insect-eating birds. With a non-technical narrative, numerous photos, and original drawings, they explore Chimney Swift natural history and provide practical guidelines for homeowners to coexist peacefully with these remarkable spring and summer guests.

Paul D. Kyle and Georgean Z. Kyle are project directors of the Driftwood Wildlife Association’s North American Chimney Swift Nest Site Research Project, an all-volunteer effort to expand public awareness about the beneficial nature and the plight of Chimney Swifts. Participation across North America in this project has produced a growing number of people who are now constructing nesting towers and conducting Chimney Swift conservation projects in their own communities. The Kyles’ construction guide, Chimney Swift Towers, is also available from Texas A&M University Press.

What Readers Are Saying:

“These are well-written and deserve to be on your bookshelf.” --Blogspot

“…is to ‘share the charm and wonder of Chimney Swifts with others.’ The authors succeed in achieving this admirable goal birders who read the book will never look at swifts the same way again…The book features excellent photographs of swifts on nests, as well as drawings illustrating swift behaviors around the nest and in the air…an easy to use reference.” --Birders World Magazine

“Excellent photographs and line drawings are interspaced to augment the text. Their presentation is eminently readable and factual.” --The Quarterly Review of Biology

“. . . It is an attractive volume based on hundreds of hours of field work. The Kyles have summarized their experiences into manageable form as a book. For many years my monograph, published in 1958 as Bulletin Number 368 of the New York State Museum, stood as the major work on the species. With the publication of the Kyles’ work we enter a new era of literature, research, and field work on the Chimney Swift. The authors have produced a manuscript that will stand as the definitive volume on the species. It would be to the University’s credit to be the publisher of this book on a common but little known species of bird: the Chimney Swift.” --Richard B. Fischer, Professor Emeritus, Cornell University

“I highly recommend their excellent book on some of North America’s most fascinating birds.” --Victor Emanuel, Victor Emanuel Nature Tours

“I found Chimney Swifts: Americas Mysterious Birds above the Fireplace to be thoroughly entertaining, vitally conservation relevant, and a must-read for anyone concerned about conserving America’s birds. After this glimpse into their unique lives and needs, one simply wants to help. My congratulations to the authors!” --Merlin D. Tuttle, Founder/President, Bat Conservation International

“This is a truly outstanding book, on a fascinating subject, written by a remarkable husband and wife team who have followed their passions and devoted decades of their lives to the study, conservation, and rehabilitation of Chimney Swifts. I highly recommend it.” --James R. Hill III, Founder and Executive Director, Purple Martin Conservation

“. . . a delight to read.” --Keith Arnold, Professor of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, Texas A&M Uni

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