• Where can I see Purple Martins and Chimney Swifts?


    Do purple martins roost anywhere in Geauga county and if so, where? Also, where else do the chimney swifts roost besides the church on Chardon Square? Thanks.

    Naturalist's Response

    Thanks for your questions!

    Purple Martins:

    There are lots of Purple Martin shelters hoisted by homeowners all over Geauga County. Some good general advice is to try almost any street in the area of Middlefield, Huntsburg and Parkman townships. The wide-open spaces of farm fields can give birders great views from the roadside.

    Chimney Swifts:

    Small collections of Chimney Swifts are common sights over most fields and ponds. However, a few spots stand out as great places for viewing the “bird tornado” phenomenon of large numbers of swifts preparing for the autumn migration.

    As you mention, Chardon Square features a large number of old spires, chimneys and roofs – solid gold real estate for migrating swifts!

    Two other spots that have been reliable in past years are Burton Square and Berkshire High School, both in Burton.

    The swifts’ use of any particular site can vary year-by-year, though.  Here are some other sites that have sometimes hosted swift swarms:

    • Arms Trucking building (former Claridon Elementary School building)
    • Newbury High School
    • Ledgemont High School building in Thompson

    Best of luck in your bird quest! As of today, the Purple Martins have mostly moved on; it’s not too late to see the Chimney Swift vortex in some of the places, but they will be gone soon!

    -Naturalist Chris Mentrek