Saving the Chimney Swift

GREEN BAY, Wisc. (WBAY) Some dedicated volunteers hope a new kind of beer can help raise awareness about a bird species on the decline, just in time for their Swift Night Out campaign.

The birds arrive just in time each spring to eat those insects that drive us nuts.

"They are an aerial insectivore which means they do eat insects on the wing and that includes mosquitoes," says Nancy Nabak with Bird City Green Bay.

In recent decades, the number of Chimney Swifts migrating to and from Wisconsin, and the nation, has fallen significantly.

"We know that widespread pesticide use could be a factor here, and we know that the habitat is being lost," says Nabak.

Habitat that is man made, and that the birds adapted to centuries ago after settlers cleared the forests.

"We're losing our chimneys to capping or just having them torn down or they're not being built anymore because of advances in technology," says Nabak.

Tomorrow night will mark the 7th year in a row dozens of volunteers representing Bird City Green Bay will watch chimneys around the city at sunset to count how many Chimney Swifts fly in.

To help raise awareness that the birds rely on chimneys for nesting, Titletown Brewing Company crafted a Swift's Night Ale.

"This is a Kentucky-style common, which is a historic style that has now been semi-resurrected by some of the craft brewers, so we decided we'd try one because we never have," says Titletown Brewmaster David Oldenburg.

"The more people talk about it and think about it, maybe we can get those creative ideas of what's our next step with the Chimney Swift because we really don't know what's going to happen to that population," adds Nabak.