A bird best identified by silhouette, the smudge-gray Chimney Swift nimbly maneuvers over rooftops, fields, and rivers to catch insects. Its tiny body, curving wings, and stiff, shallow wingbeats give it a flight style as distinctive as its fluid, chattering call. This enigmatic little bird spends almost its entire life airborne. When it lands, it can’t perch—it clings to vertical walls inside chimneys or in hollow trees or caves. This species has suffered sharp declines as chimneys fall into disuse across the continent.
We had a large colony of these birds in Northville at Hubbell’s chimney was built by Stephen Acker in 1880 during the construction of the Globe Metallic Binding Company owned by Ray Hubbell and James A. Cole.
The structure has since been torn down.