Chimney Swifts return to St. Anthony Park

By Karlyn Eckman

After the long migration from Peru, the first Chimney Swifts birds this year were spotted overhead on May 5 in our area.

You might see them in small groups flying acrobatically while chattering to each other. Swifts are unable to walk and they spend their entire lives flying or roosting inside old trees or chimneys.

Their populations have declined more than 50% since the 1970s, mostly due to removal of large trees in urban areas and the capping of chimneys. They eat winged insects, especially gnats and mosquitoes, and are beneficial for people.

In 2022, the St. Anthony Park Community Council’s Environment Committee received a grant from the St. Anthony Park Community Foundation to construct a nesting tower. It was built last fall by south SAP resident Bill Delanis, assisted by committee members Michael Russelle, Corey Butler, Lisa Habeck, Kerry Morgan, Rennie Gaither and me.

Val Cervenka assisted with selection and approval of the site at the end of Long Avenue. Signage at the site is the “Life on the Wing” graphic shown below, by Sandy Hokanson (hokansonart.com).

Learn more at the tower July 20

Join a neighborhood walk at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, July 20, for a look at the tower and other nearby roosting sites. Meet in the parking lot of Hampden Park Co-op, 928 Raymond Ave., and walk to the site, about a half-mile round trip. Binoculars will be available. The group is limited to 20. Registration is recommended: send an email to Communications@TransitionASAP.org. 

Karlyn Eckman is a resident of South St. Anthony Park. Reach her at eckma001@umn.edu.

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