© 2021 WYPR
Fall 2021 Header
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Swift Decline as Chimneys Vanish

chimney_swifts.jpg

Every fall, thousands of chimney swifts migrate through Baltimore, swirling at night into an old smokestack in Hampden and other locations to sleep in sheltered spaces.

But the numbers of these miraculous but often disrespected birds -- sometimes called "flying stogies" because of their taste for ash-tray like accommodations -- are declining across the U.S. because many new homes have metal-lined chimneys that kill the birds.  The swifts' homes in hollow trees and caves are also disappearing.

Tom Pelton, a national award-winning environmental journalist, has hosted "The Environment in Focus" since 2007. He also works as director of communications for the Environmental Integrity Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to holding polluters and governments accountable to protect public health. From 1997 until 2008, he was a journalist for The Baltimore Sun, where he was twice named one of the best environmental reporters in America by the Society of Environmental Journalists.