Friday, May 1, 2009

Torontonians, Look! Look!

University College, University of Toronto, and Chimney Swifts.
(Simulated.) (Not very well.)

May 1st. This was usually the day that Chimney Swifts returned to the downtown campus of the University of Toronto, or at least the day I first noticed them as they chittered across the sky at rooftop level. They nested in different chimneys in different years, sometimes in the tall one at the east end of University College, other times in a chimney on one of the older buildings of the Faculty of Law.

In the evenings they would swarm, and chipping madly, funnel down whichever was the chimney of the year, like billowing smoke in reverse. “Look! Look!” I would yell. Everyone looked at the crazy guy yelling “Look! Look!”

I wrote this note in the past tense, as if this thing no longer happens, as if Chimney Swifts no longer strafe the University of Toronto. They probably do; I haven’t been there for a few years. If you frequently wander the downtown campus, now is the time to look! Look!

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