Chimney Swift Family Festival

Chimney Swift Mask copy

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Prairie Ridge Ecostation for Wildlife & Learning, 1671 Gold Star Drive, 4 to 9 p.m., Free

The entire family is invited to the Chimney Swift Family Festival to learn more about the little birds with a big impact on the ecosystem. See life through the eyes of a Swift, build a nest, try on a pair of life-sized wings, peek inside the newly built Chimney Swift tower at Prairie Ridge. There will also be guided nature walks and opportunities to talk to Swift experts. Misting stations to keep you cool, craft activities, live music and food trucks will also be available. To celebrate the completion of the tower, there will also be symbolic “housewarming party” and culminating parade for the birds at 8 p.m.!

Parking will not be available in the Prairie Ridge Ecostation parking lot.  Please park at the following locations:
  Agriculture Department Agronomics building
  4000 Reedy Creek Road
  -A short walk to the Prairie Ridge Ecostation
  District Drive Park and Ride
  4093 District Drive
  –A van will transport you to Prairie Ridge Ecostation- please wait in the designated pick-up spot (regular Park and Ride pick up spot)
Please do NOT park on the side of the road (Reedy Creek, Gold Star and District).  The National Guard does not allow parking on the road around their facility, and you will be towed.
Handicap parking will be available in the Prairie Ridge parking lot.  Please pull up to the gate, and a volunteer will assist you.

Educational tables:

Wake Audubon Society
Young Naturalists of Wake Audubon
Audubon NC
Swifts and Swallows of the World
Chimney Swift Conservation Association, Austin, Texas
Vaux’s Swift Happening, Monroe, Washington
Audubon Pennsylvania
Audubon New York
Free-Flight Kinematics of Chimney Swifts, UNC Researchers
Liz Bradford, Artist
Bats of North Carolina
NC Birding Trail & Wildlife Resources Commission

Games and Activities:

Dragonfly and Birdwalks- Guided hikes throughout Prairie Ridge Ecostation

Games in the Prairie Ridge Nature Play Space:

-Swift Nest Building- Build a replica of a swift nest…made of Chinese crispy noodles held together with chocolate or some other sticky substance (swifts glue twigs together with sticky saliva).

-Water Colors Painting- Young children’s watercolor painting of swift pictures

– Chimney Crawl- the groundhog burrow will be dressed up to resemble a chimney. Children can pretend to be swifts roosting for the night

Activities and Games at Booths and Play Field:

-Coloring Pages- Wake Audubon has produced two “comic-book style” coloring pages with swifts flying above a neighborhood, and a school.

-Swift Wing Flapping- See what it feels like to have wings like a Swift! Amy Sawyer has constructed a pair of swift wings, out of foam core, which are proportional to the body of a 6-year old child as if he was a chimney swift.

-Swift Mask Construction- Annie Runyon has designed an exquisite chimney swift mask…Build one yourself or put on a pre-constructed mask.  Make sure to have it ready for the parade!

-Flock-up with Swift Masks- Just before sunset, festival attendees gather in a flock, put on their swift masks, and swirl toward the Roost Tower viewing garden where we will watch swifts come to roost (hopefully).

-Roost Tower ‘Peek-a-Boo’ – Chimney Swifts nested in the Roost Tower this first summer. The young will have fledged by the Swift Celebration but the nest will still be there, and we have a port-hole into which you can look to see the nest.


-Swift Passport- Collect a “passport” at the information booth.  Answer each question in the questionnaire by visiting every educational booth- bring your passport back completed and win a prize!

-Chimney Swift Cornhole- Under the guidance of Colleen Bockhahn at Lake Crabtree County Park, a local Girl Scout troop has constructed a cornhole with a chimney motif and chimney swift bean bags. —

-First Flight Glider Toss- Test your skills at tossing gliders for distance and for accuracy (through a hula hoop).

-Catch a Penny Stealer (Swift feeding)-What is it like to eat like a Swift?   Common milkweed seeds which float like miniature parachute will be released through the air, catch as many as you can to win a prize and be the “best fed swift”.  Youngers children can mimic swift feeding by catching bubbles!

-Swift Migration- Play a game to learn all about where and how swifts migrate.


-Water Misting Stations

-Live Music

-Food Trucks- Chick Wagon and Captain Poncho’s

Ice Cream Truck