But the birds can’t use just any chimney. Its inside walls must be made of stone, firebrick or masonry flue tiles with mortared joints, which allow the birds to cling to the walls — unlike the metal materials used in more modern homes.
Chimney swifts’ small but strong feet and four sharp gripping claws allow them to cling to rough vertical surfaces. Most other songbirds perch or stand upright.
The Atlanta Audubon Society encourages homeowners with suitable chimneys to provide temporary homes for the birds. A reward may be a less buggy yard — one chimney swift may eat 1,000 mosquito-sized insects per day.
Atlanta Audubon is building a 24-foot-tall “chimney swift tower” as part of a bird-friendly habitat that it’s creating in Piedmont Park. The tower will provide a nesting and roosting site for the swifts.
IN THE SKY: From David Dundee, Tellus Science Museum astronomer: The moon will be first quarter on Monday. Mercury is low in the east just before dawn. Brightly shining Venus is in the west at dusk and sets about two hours later. Mars and Saturn rise in the east around midnight. Jupiter is in the east at dusk.