06 March 2012

Chimney Swallows Captured for Shootists

Though wild pigeons were prominently used as targets for shootists during the latter 1870s, a bit of an article indicates another species that was obviously also suitable. It was smaller in size and would have a completely different response upon release from capture, but they were still of enough interest to be captured by devious means. The little bblack birds were especially vulnerable during the autumn when they congregated while migrating southward.

A bit of news in a regional paper reveals a glimpse of the taking of the chimney swallow.

"At Bowling Green, Ky., recently two men secured 3,576 chimney-swallows in one evening, to be used at a shooting match. Modus operandi: Put an empty bed-tick over the top of the chimney and start a fire below."

These details are from a news item issued in September, 1878 which gave no indication whether or not this was a normal endeavor. Further details could have provided a unique perspective on this completely distinct report regarding the taking of Chimney Swifts at this time in Kentucky.

This is just one more detail of historic ornithology to appreciate, as issued in a newspaper decades in the past.