SHEPHERDSTOWN — Chimney swifts returning to Shepherdstown from South America this spring will be capable to transfer into a brand new residence on Shepherd College’s West Campus. An settlement between Shepherd and the Potomac Valley Audubon Society allowed PVAS to have a 30-foot tower constructed subsequent to Dunlop Corridor to function a migratory cease for the swifts.
The brand new tower is meant to interchange the chimney on Sara Cree Corridor that swifts used for a roost earlier than the constructing was torn down in 2017. Schmitt Building Firm of Shepherdstown constructed the brand new tower, which was engineered by Alpha Associates and can be capable to host as much as 5,000 birds.
The tower is constructed of poured-in-place concrete, made with types making a brick sample. There’s a sewer drain within the middle, conduit for the longer term set up of electrical and cameras, and an entry door on south aspect. The unique plan was to color the skin of the tower purple to match Dunlop Corridor, however it is going to be painted yellow after the concrete cures for 30 days.
“Crimson is a troublesome coloration to keep up due to the pigment, and I instructed the yellow to go together with the motif of Sara Cree Corridor,” Schmitt mentioned. “Possibly the birds will recognize that.”
The brand new tower will function a studying software for Shepherd college students. Sher Hendrickson, affiliate professor of biology, plans to have college students within the Subject Ornithology class depend chimney swifts and monitor the tower’s success as a part of their discipline lab.
“I can even be growing labs across the chimney swift mission for the Normal Biology class, to encourage a robust conservation ethic amongst college students from disciplines throughout campus,” Hendrickson mentioned. “I believe the chimney swift tower shouldn’t be solely vital to mitigating the lack of the migratory stopover website we eliminated after we demolished Sara Cree Corridor, however it should even be a option to elevate conservation consciousness and ethics for our college students.”
PVAS’s involvement within the mission happened as a result of its members have helped monitor the swifts for greater than 20 years. Suzanne Offutt, PVAS president, mentioned when the chimney stood at Sara Cree Corridor, Shepherdstown was the most important spring and fall roosting website for swifts within the state of West Virginia, so she sees changing the chimney as a step towards preserving the species.
“We’re grateful to Shepherd for offering the house for the tower, enhancing the habitat and dealing in a collaborative method to construct the tower — and simply in time for the chimney swifts that will likely be right here any day after their 6,000-mile arduous migration north,” Offutt mentioned. “Shepherdstown is their summer season residence the place they will eat hundreds of bugs every single day, elevate their younger, then regroup of their chosen roosting websites. We’re so relieved they will have a roost prepared for them at their journey’s finish this spring.”
Kristin Alexander, PVAS govt director, mentioned the society appreciates those that have helped cowl the development prices and remains to be accepting donations to complete paying for the tower.
“These of us acknowledged the urgency of changing this tower as quickly as potential due to the distinctive migration wants of chimney swifts,” Alexander mentioned. “This can be a neighborhood mission that may assist Shepherd college students’ educational experiences and contribute to worldwide scientific analysis. We’ll be internet hosting Swift Night time Out occasions to depend the swifts on the tower to observe its use. These occasions are nice alternatives for neighborhood members to contribute to science whereas witnessing a pure phenomenon because the swifts dive into the tower for the evening.”