hinges and a secure latch will allow for easy inspection by guy23


									hinges and a secure latch will allow for easy
inspection and clean out.

Towers which are less than 12' tall should be fitted                                           5/8” T1-11
                                                                                               plywood 4”
with a sun shade on the top, south-facing edge to                                              on center

                                                                                                                                                                        Providing &
protect the eggs and young from direct sunlight.                         11” to 24”
                                                                                               Air space

The outside of the tower should be finished with                                                  Sheathing
paint or stain to protect it against the elements.
However, the inside should be left unfinished to                                                                                                                          Maintaining
                                                                                                  Trim boards
retain the rough texture of the wood.
                                                                   Chimney Swift Tower

Placement                                                               Top View

Stabilizing the tower is important. The easiest                                                                  For more information about how you
method is to attach the tower to an existing struc-                                   Chimney Swift
                                                                                         Tower                  can become involved in Chimney Swift

ture. The north or east side of a building is
preferable because the tower will remain cooler in
                                                               Sun shade
                                                                                                                        conservation, contact:
the summer.

The top of the tower should extend four to six feet
                                                                                                                           Paul and Georgean Kyle
above the roof of any adjacent structure. This will
                                                           Metal flashing
                                                                                                                        Driftwood Wildlife Association
make it obvious and accessible to Chimney Swifts                                                                         1206 West 38th, Suite 1105
but not to predators such as cats, raccoons and                                                                               Austin, TX 78705
opossums. A predator guard is highly recom-                                             Trim boards
                                                                                                                        e-mail: dwa@concentric.net
mended: metal flashing around the top (or bottom)                                                                                                                            A
or an electric hot-wire. Hot wires should be on a
timer which turns the power off during daylight
                                                                                                                This brochure may be reproduced for distribution.
                                                                                                                                                                         Guide for
hours.                                                                                                                                                                       Homeowners
A free-standing tower on legs is easier to protect
                                                                                         Air space
against mammalian predators and ants. It should be
located in a small clearing (treeless area approxi-       5/8” Textured                  Spacer

mately 15' x 15'). A concrete foundation will prevent
                                                          1-11 siding with                                                                                          By Paul D. and Georgean Z. Kyle
                                                          grooves facing
the need for guy wires on free-standing towers. For       inside and                                                                                                 Driftwood Wildlife Association
8' towers pour a foundation measuring 36" x 36" x         horizontally
6". For 12' towers pour a foundation measuring 48"
x 48" x 8". Steel rebar or remesh will greatly             Bottom with                                                                                                          Produced by
increase the strength of the foundation.                   ventilation                                                                                                    Texas Partners in Flight
                                                           holes                         Angle steel legs

Towers should be cleaned of droppings and old nests                                                                                                                                 and
                                                                                      concrete foundation                 4200 Smith School Road                         Texas Parks and Wildlife,
each fall after the swifts have migrated from the area.
A cover may be placed over the top during the winter
                                                                                                                            Austin, Texas 78744                        Nongame and Urban Program
to protect the inside and exclude unwanted guests.        ground
                                                                                                                              PWD BR W7000-246 (6/98)
 About Chimney Swifts                                      While Chimney Swifts would seem to be an exception to       chimney free of creosote build-up, homeowners help             Tower Design Basics
                                                           the generally declining populations of migratory birds,     assure successful nest building, decreasing the chances
                                                           the pendulum may be swinging back against them.             of the nest falling before the birds have fledged. The best
The summer skies are filled with many species of                                                                                                                                      Dimensions
                                                           Chimney Swifts commonly roost together in large             time to clean a chimney is in mid-March when the wood
birds. However, none seem to be as much at home            numbers in a single shaft. However, each breeding pair      fire season is over and just before the Chimney Swifts
on the wing as the Chimney Swifts. While even the                                                                                                                                     Chimney Swifts prefer a shaft which is at least eight
                                                           must have a site of their own to raise their young. This    return from their Amazon Basin wintering grounds.
graceful swallows must perch to preen and socialize,                                                                                                                                  feet deep and closed at the bottom. They will
                                                           becomes a problem with the advent of metal chimneys
the Chimney Swifts flicker on, chippering and                                                                                                                                         generally build their nest in the bottom 1/3 of the
                                                           and the increasing desire of home owners to cap their       When cleaning the chimney, the damper should be
careening endlessly throughout the day.                                                                                                                                               tower to protect their young from direct sunlight and
                                                           chimneys. Suitable nesting sites will be harder to find.    inspected and should remain closed during the nesting
                                                                                                                                                                                      rain showers. A minimum internal diameter of
                                                                                                                       season. This will prevent birds from flying into the house
Small, sleek, bluish-black with silver-gray throats,                                                                                                                                  eleven inches is adequate, but eighteen to twenty
                                                                                                                       and becoming trapped or injured. A closed damper will
Chimney Swifts have been called “flying cigars” and                                                                                                                                   inches will allow human access for cleaning and
“bows and arrows.” Their stiff, flickering movements
                                                            Maintaining Fireplace Chimneys                             also prevent a nest which does break loose from falling
                                                                                                                                                                                      other maintenance. Larger and deeper towers are
                                                                                                                       into the fireplace. It also lessens the transfer of sound
alternate with long, graceful sweeps of flight as they                                                                                                                                also more attractive to swifts as communal roosts.
                                                           Providing nesting sites for Chimney Swifts is not as easy   and will make the chimney quieter for the birds and
scour the skies for flying insects. As captivating as                                                                  home owner. In older homes some fireplaces may not
                                                           as putting up a prefabricated Purple Martin house or                                                                       Materials
their flight is to watch, their clandestine terrestrial                                                                have dampers, or they may be inoperative. In these cases,
                                                           hanging out a nest box for Carolina Wrens, but it may be
behavior is even more remarkable.                                                                                      a large piece of foam rubber (do not use fiberglass
                                                           as simple as properly maintaining an existing fireplace                                                                    Rough texture on the inside is essential. An excellent
                                                           chimney. Since Chimney Swifts are in North America          insulation) can be wedged up from the fireplace to serve
Unable to perch or stand upright as songbirds do,                                                                                                                                     material is 5/8" Textured One-eleven (T1-11) siding.
                                                           only during the warmest part of the year, there is          this purpose, while the swifts are in residence.
Chimney Swifts are uniquely equipped to roost                                                                                                                                         It is a rough-textured plywood with ½" grooves
                                                           seldom a conflict over time-sharing rights of a chimney.                                                                   spaced every four inches. It is available from most
clinging to vertical surfaces. Their small but strong
feet are tipped with four sharp claws which act as                                                                                                                                    lumber yards in 4' x 8' sheets, and can be cut into
grappling hooks to hold them firmly to their roost.
                                                           For a chimney to be suitable for swifts, the inside must    Providing New Nesting Habitat                                  conveniently-sized panels. Facing the textured side
                                                           be made of stone, firebrick or masonry flue tiles with                                                                     in and running the grooves horizontally creates foot
Their tail feather shafts extend as stiff exposed spines
                                                           mortared joints. These materials provide enough             It is possible to construct habitat specifically for Chimney   holds for the birds. The swifts are able to hold onto
to provide additional support for their vertical
                                                           texture for the birds to cling to the walls. Metal          Swifts. The most elaborate project of this kind was            the entire surface of this material, but they seem to
lifestyle. Although they will occasionally roost in
                                                           chimneys are unsuitable and should always be capped.        designed and built by Althea Sherman in 1915. This             prefer lining up side by side on the grooves. Another
the open, Chimney Swifts prefer the safety of an
                                                           Any animal which enters a metal flue will fall to the       Chimney Swift Tower was nine feet square and twenty-           excellent material is concrete cinder block. Although
enclosed area such as a chimney, air shaft or
                                                           bottom and be unable to climb the slippery walls.           eight feet tall. In the center was a two foot square           more expensive and difficult to work with, it creates a
abandoned building. It is in these inaccessible
                                                                                                                       chimney which ran to a depth of fourteen feet. The             more permanent structure. The inside of concrete
locations that they not only roost but build their
                                                           Proper maintenance is crucial for any chimney whether       artificial chimney was made of rough-sawn lumber, and          structures must be treated with a masonry sealer to
nests, raise their families and congregate prior to
                                                           it is to be used by Chimney Swifts or for winter fires.     was equipped with viewing ports and auger holes for            stabilize the surface and prevent the nests from
                                                           Wood fires produce flammable creosote residue which         observing and recording the home life of the Chimney           falling from the wall.
                                                           coats the inside of a chimney. If left unattended, this     Swifts.
The adaptation by Chimney Swifts to make use of
                                                           material will build up and the entire layer may ignite. A                                                                  Construction
man-made structures is a result of deforestation and
                                                           resulting chimney fire will spew burning cinders onto       Considerably less ambitious attempts have produced
the loss of large hollow trees as natural roosting and
                                                           the roof and surrounding structures. In extreme cases,      artificial chimneys which have been readily accepted by        An air space between the inside chamber and the
nesting sites. This ability to adapt has not only
                                                           intense chimney fires can cause an explosion. In most       Chimney Swifts. In central Texas several towers have           outside skin will prevent over-heating (a common
allowed Chimney Swifts to survive as a species, but it
                                                           cases, an annual cleaning by a professional will keep the   been erected in recent years. Many of these more modest        problem with smaller towers). The space may also
has caused their range to greatly expand. As recently
                                                           chimney walls clean and safe.                               structures have attracted nesting pairs of swifts the first    be filled with a rigid insulation board or packing
as the 1940s, Chimney Swifts were rarely sighted west
                                                                                                                       year they were in place. Several have even been used as        peanuts.
of the Mississippi River. They are currently common
                                                           Chimney Swifts build their nests by attaching small         colonial roosts and have consistently attracted flocks of
from the east coast to the foot of the Rocky
                                                           twigs to the chimney wall with their glue-like saliva.      more than one hundred individuals in the late summer           A bottom with small ventilation holes (1/4" to 3/8")
                                                           When completed, the shallow half-cup nest protrudes         and early fall. Modern building materials place the            keeps the inside darker and more attractive to swifts.
                                                           two to three inches from the wall. By keeping the           project within the capabilities of most “do-it-yourselfers.”   It also protects against predation. Fitting it with

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