NewsOur new chimney swift tower is ready for a mating pair. If you see swifts, let the office know.

CUCC member Ian Burkhardt is putting the finishing touches on his Eagle Scout project — a Chimney Swift nesting tower. While working to attain Boy Scouts’ highest honor, Ian became aware that Chimney Swift populations have been declining at a rate of 2.5% each year. That decline has led to swifts being classified as a “near threatened” species in the U.S. and “endangered” in Canada. Ian states, “This project will support CUCC’s mission to help those who can’t help themselves.”

Ian was responsible for planning all aspects of the project and overseeing eight scouts and eight adults who built the chimney during three all-day work sessions and two half-day sessions. The cost of the chimney was $1,300 with $600 raised to date. If you’d like to contribute to the project, please send checks (made payable to “Ian Burkhardt”) to his home address or give them to Property Ministry Chairperson Merrilee Jacobson.

The chimney was placed in the backyard of the Pilgrim House, which provides plenty of open space for the swifts to circle the structure before diving in. The chimney contains four information panel areas — one of which will provide an overview of Ian’s project while the other three are available to CUCC.

According to the National Audubon Society, “Chimney Swifts start to arrive in North Carolina from their South American wintering grounds in late March, and they’ll nest in chimneys from May to August. Starting in April and continuing through October, you have a good chance of hearing their distinctive chittering calls and seeing them fly overhead all day long.”  (reference) Keep an eye out for a nesting pair and contact the office if you see birds checking out our tower.  The National Audubon Society would like us to report sitings for their preservation work.

While Ian’s chimney is built to attract a single nesting pair, other chimneys around Raleigh attract hundreds of swifts each evening. If you haven’t seen this phenomenon, click here for a short video.

-submitted by Property Ministry chair, Merrilee Jacobson