Friday, December 10, 2010

Chimney Swift Tower

As environmental stewards, we always look to continue and improve upon our Audubon program. Joining Minnesota's Audubon "Chimney Swift Conservation Project" would be another great addition.

The bird, Chimney Swift (Chaetura pelagica), often called the "flying cigar", has seen a 50% decline in population over the past 4 decades. The Chimney Swift typically has only one brood per season in our area beginning sometime in May, with most clutches having 3-5 eggs. After an incubation period of about 3 weeks, the hatchlings are practicing flight inside the tower and flying outside the tower by the 4th week. Although a tower will only house one nesting pair per year, many other Chimney Swifts (up to the hundreds) will use the tower as a roost. We have routinely seen Chimney Swifts flying around the grounds of Minikahda during our annual "Bird Watch", mostly during the dawn and dusk times of day.
Since 1995 the Texas-based Driftwood Wildlife Association has been in charge of monitoring and promoting the conservation of these birds throughout North America. Our contribution to the project would be to construct a Chimney Swift Tower and install it somewhere on the grounds of Minikahda. After doing some additional research and talking with several other people who have already installed a tower, a site was chosen here at Minikahda and the construction process began. With some luck we'll have a nesting pair next spring.

More information about the project and Chimney Swifts in our area can be found here: at Minnesota Audubon Chimney Swift

The link below has some great photos of the entire nesting cycle from an inside the tower view, hopefully this will occur in our tower at Minikahda next year.

Below is the process of building and installing our tower here at The Minikahda Club.


The three tower sections constructed.

First tower section concreted into the ground.


The three tower sections put together.


The finished Chimney Swift tower, standing just over 14'6".

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