2017 Swift Fest in Downtown Jonestown

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The historic Swift Fest is happening in downtown Jonestown on Saturday, August 19, 2017. Enjoy the flight of these beautiful birds as they return to the cistern they call home in Jonestown. The cistern serves as the home of this colony of chimney swifts that make a stop each year starting in mid-March and stay through September. In celebration of this migratory event, the city of Jonestown holds a festival centered around the “swift drop.”



Photo: Facebook/Swift Fest In Jonestown

The cistern is located behind the Jones and Carter Realty office, the owners of the cistern. According to their website, “the cistern where the birds seasonally reside once supplied water to a former ranch house, which today, more than 100 years later, serves as the offices of Jones and Carter Real Estate. The Jones and Carter family owned the original homestead and have protected the cistern and the birds for decades.”

The town credits the owners for preserving this urban wonder over the years allowing the swifts to descend to this same spot for decades. The cistern has not only benefited the birds but has brought bird enthusiasts from around the world here to enjoy this enchanting sight. In turn, this event helps bring support to local businesses and improves the quality of life for its citizen’s, shares its website. The birds eat a lot of insects.


Swift Fest photo

Photo: Facebook/Swift Fest In Jonestown

To add to the excitement of the colony of swifts return to the cistern, there is also a festival full of fun for the whole family. There are nature-themed vendors, live music, nature games and activities for kids, food and adult beverages. The evening ends with everyone gathered at the cistern to watch the birds come home for the evening. “After a day spent feasting on insects, the swifts return in the evening to their cistern home en masse, a tornado-like sight that is fascinating to see,” shares its website.

Fun Facts and Event Details

Swift pic

Photo: Facebook/Swift Fest In Jonestown

Some interesting facts as shared by include:

Chimney Swifts do not perch. Instead, they use their long claws to cling to the walls of chimneys and other vertical surfaces.

The Chimney Swift looks a little strange as it flies. It appears to be beating only one wing at a time. Studies, however, have shown that it actually beats both wings. The illusion is due to the erratic nature of its flight with all the banks and turns.

A group of swifts is collectively known as a “box,” “flock,” “screaming frenzy,” or “swoop” of swifts.

The festivities are on August 19th, beginning at 4:30 p.m. and continue through 10:00 p.m. For more information about the line-up of events, visit or their Facebook page.