Thursday, Oct 7, 2021

Volunteers Jim Rossman and Paul Rice are highly valued by MNA staff for their willingness to tackle projects requiring a higher-than-normal set of building, carpentry, and construction skills. So when we decided to erect a chimney swift tower on the grounds of our office building in partnership with Michigan Audubon, they responded with an enthusiastic "yes"!

The tower - and others like them - are on part of Michigan Audubon's efforts to increase awareness for chimney swifts and to slow a steep population decline in recent decades. A bird that favors urban areas, the swifts nest and roost in traditional brick chimneys with open caps. They feed by catching flying insects but cannot perch upright, only on a vertical surface that allows some perches on a rough surface.

Using plans from the Chimney Swift Conservation Association, but adding their own modifications, the tower took shape in Jim's workshop over the winter of 2019-2020. The COVID pandemic prevented installation until this fall.

"We hope to provide chimney swift habitat," says Julie Stoneman, MNA's Director of Outreach and Educations, "but the tower itself is a wonderful educational tool that compliments our native bird, bee, and pollinator landscaping. It's great to work in partnership with Michigan Audubon and we cannot thank Jim and Paul enough for the hours dedicated to constructing and installing the tower."

"We really look forward to the day when the office fully reopens and our Education Room is once again a center for conservation partners meetings and events so we can show off this new landscape addition."