Georgia Audubon and the Town Center Community Alliance recently partnered on a project to install a 12-foot-tall Chimney Swift tower along the Noonday Creek Trail in Kennesaw.
Designed to mimic an actual chimney, the tower will serve as a roosting and nesting habitat for Chimney Swifts. The artwork on the tower was painted by the Atlanta-based muralist Christina Ward. In addition to the tower, the site will include educational signage that highlights the value of the birds and constructed towers.
Still a fairly common sight in the metro area, Chimney Swifts are being forced to respond to additional threats across their range — from chimney capping, to tree removal, to a decreasing supply of insects due to pesticides, pollution and climate change. Other issues, such as building collisions and challenges on the birds’ wintering grounds are exacerbating population declines.
This is the fifth tower Georgia Audubon has constructed in the last couple of years with three more in the works for the coming months.
Chimney Swifts have specially adapted feet that allow them to cling to the inside of hollow structures, like these towers. The birds build saucer-shaped nests made out of twigs glued together with their saliva. Chimney Swifts rarely allow other birds, including other swifts, to use “their” tower while they are nesting, but in late summer, hundreds or even thousands of individual birds may roost in one large chimney creating a spectacular site overhead as they flock into the chimney near dusk.
In exchange for the roosting site, Chimney Swifts will provide natural pest control as each bird may consume up to 1,000 flying insects, including mosquitos, each day.