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Chapter Corner

Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania Unveils Real-time Chimney Swift Monitoring/Reporting Initiative

Since 2013, Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania has been installing Chimney Swift towers throughout our service region to support swift conservation. Recently, we unveiled an online component that allows people to report in real time their Chimney Swift sightings. Sightings may include birds using a tower, birds around a tower, birds near a “real” chimney, or no birds near one of our towers. The towers each have an ID number and QR code to help people to easily identify them. Observations may be reported at www.aswp.org.

The Chimney Swift towers mimic an actual chimney, serving as roosting and nesting habitat for the birds. The central tower is constructed much like a traditional chimney, and the interior walls of the tower provide perfect roosting and nesting opportunities. Most of these structures also feature a kiosk, which contains educational information about swifts and swift conservation, as well as wayfinding, site information or community bulletin boards.

Through a variety of partnerships, Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania has installed almost 150 towers in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

There are 100 Chimney Swift towers throughout the nine Allegheny County Parks. Through a partnership with the Allegheny County Parks Foundation, Allegheny County, and Peaceable Kingdom Fund of the Pittsburgh Foundation, these towers were installed from 2016 – 2017. The towers have been met with enthusiasm and interest by park users. 

Some of Audubon's earliest Chimney Swift towers were made possible through generous funding from the Sprout Fund. In 2011, we partnered with Millvale Borough to install four towers. The towers are located along the riverfront trail, in the Gardens of Millvale Community Garden, and at the Millvale Ballfield. 

Because of their social structure, Chimney Swifts will not allow other birds (including swifts) to use the tower while they are nesting. They defend their nesting structure during the breeding season. So while a Chimney Swift Tower could be used as a roost by one hundred or more birds during migration, a single pair of birds will use the structure during the nesting season. Each and every tower we are able to build is critical in supporting the Chimney Swift population, and ensuring they remain relatively common birds in western Pennsylvania.

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Free Nature Film Sponsored by Conococheague Audubon Society

Conococheague Audubon, based in Fayetteville, PA (Franklin County) invites the public to attend FREE nature films. The first of our 2017-2018 free film nights begins with the November 9, 2017, showing of the National Geographic nature film, “The Rise of Black Wolf.” Filmed in the stunning Yellowstone National Park, the videographers studied at great length the rather rare and compelling story of a resilient lone black wolf and his various attempts to “fit in” with the rest of the pack.  When forced out of the initial pack, he strikes out on his own, challenging other wolf leaders to find his place in this world. Will he succeed? Or, will he succumb to the pressures of the hierarchies within the wolf world?  Join us on Thursday, November 9, 2017, to discover Black Wolf’s destiny.  Our film begins at 7:30 PM.  Plan now to attend the live music entertainment provided by Jeff Diller playing the classical guitar at 7 PM.  Remember, though our films are free to the public, at the door we do accept donations which will be used towards the maintenance of our various projects. As usual, we will have a few door prizes to offer as well.  Come on out to enjoy a quality free film, live entertainment, and good fellowship. Films are shown at Chambersburg Area Middle School South, 1151 E. McKinley St., Chambersburg, PA.  17201. For further information, please email ConAudubon@outlook.com.

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