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Not only Santa needs his chimneys

Cara J

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On Shepherd University’s campus in Shepherdstown, W.V, chimney swifts (Chaetura pelagica) roost in a chimney on Sara Cree Hall before heading south in the fall. Some evenings in the fall, over a thousand birds may be found on a given night entering the chimney. But the brick building, which was constructed in the early 1950s and used as the school’s sports center, is going to be demolished in the spring of next year. The university has replaced it with a new wellness center, and the old building is no longer needed and in a state of disrepair. This means the birds will lose one of their major migratory roosts in West Virginia. “In the meantime, the local community and Potomac Valley Audubon Society have been watching chimney swifts on campus for over a decade or so,” said Sher Hendrickson, a professor in the biology department at Shepherd University who has taken an interest in the group’s efforts to conserve the birds. Birdwatchers had documented that capping the chimney in nearby Knutti Hall about five years ago caused the swifts on campus to move to Sara Cree Hall, which has a much larger chimney, according to Hendrickson. Earlier this year, Shepherd [...]


Read more: http://wildlife.org/not-only-santa-needs-his-chimneys/

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