Chimney swifts being released by King’s College

I’m talking about birds, not chimney sweeps, which made their way into our pop culture through Mary Poppins.

Chimney swifts are soot-coloured at-risk birds whose natural habitat has been declining rapidly.

A group of the birds were admitted to Swift Care Ontario (SCO) in critical condition. SCO is located just outside London.

Their nest had fallen into a furnace pipe and they were recovered by an Aylmer homeowner.

As King’s is home to a large number of chimney swifts in its Wemple Building chimney, it was felt it would be prudent to release three of the rehabilitated birds back into the wild there.

Interestingly,  hand-reared swifts from Montreal, Ottawa and other areas have been released at King’s.

“The King’s community is proud to provide sanctuary to a large population of chimney swifts,” said Principal David Sylvester.

“We strive to protect and enhance the environment on and around campus and are happy to work with Swift Care Ontario to help these at-risk birds.”

The public is invited to the release party on Wednesday.

People are meeting in the parking lot adjacent to the Wemple Building at 6 p.m. The birds will remain in their cage for 45 minutes to become comfortable.


This photo was taken by my pal and former Free Press colleague Sue Bradnam, who also does volunteer work with Salthaven Wildlife Rehabiliation Centre.

Here’s an interesting fact: Swifts have seen their populations decrease by over 95% in the past 40 years due decreased food supply (flying insects) loss of habitat, pesticides, climate change, and a shortage of nesting and roosting sites (hollow trees, chimneys).

Good luck to these little guys.



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