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Chimney Swift Cam

Stormy Oaks Chimney Swift Cam

Welcome Stormy Oaks Chimney Swift Cam

One of the only wildlife cameras in the nation monitoring Chimney Swifts, this camera is located at Stormy Oaks Nature Conservancy in Valencia, PA. The camera was placed at the top of an artificial chimney constructed specifically for swifts. Swifts have used this tower every year since 2011. Stormy Oaks Nature Conservancy is located on 14 acres of farmland in Butler County of western Pennsylvania. It is the home of Wildbird Recovery, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation of wildlife and natural resources. They achieve this goal by presenting on-site and off-site educational programs in addition to providing rehabilitation efforts for Passerines (Songbirds, Swifts, Swallows) and Raptors (Birds of Prey). Their continued efforts are supported entirely by the generosity of donations. Find them at https://www.wildbirdrecovery.org/

Chimney Swifts are small birds that have short, stiff legs with feet that are designed to grip vertical surfaces but not horizontal ones. As a result, you will never see a swift perched on a tree branch. Instead, they spend all day continuously flying, catching all kinds of insects in midair. At night, they seek refuge in hollow trees and human chimneys. These spots are also where they build their nests in spring. Nests are made of small woody twigs cemented together with sticky saliva. The twigs are gathered by the Swifts’ feet as they fly through branches, then the twigs are transferred to their beaks for placement in the nest. Swifts usually return to the same nesting site and reunite with the same mate from the previous year. One to two additional Swifts (usually relatives) help the parents to care for young.

Clutch Size = 3-5 eggs
Incubation Period = 16-21 days
Nestling Period = 14-19 days

Before Europeans settled in North America, there were plenty of large trees with hollowed sections suitable for Swifts. As colonists arrived, many old-growth trees were felled, and the Swifts adapted to using human structures. Today, there are fewer chimneys for Swifts to use, so their populations are threatened by habitat loss. Insect populations on our planet are also is great decline, adding extra concern for the long-term survival of these birds.

Stormy Oaks Nature Conservancy, home of Wildbird Recovery, is committed to promoting conservation of Chimney Swifts. They welcome the opportunity to educate the public about this species. For more information about the importance of swifts and building your own artificial nesting site, please visit the wonderful website and advocates of the chimney swift at www.chimneyswifts.org.

This livestream was made possible by PixCams, Inc., a company that specializes in connecting people with wildlife through video feeds such as this. The cameras not only provide a window into wildlife, but they provide an educational tool for schools, researchers, and the general public. Wildlife streaming cams have steadily gained popularity among both scientists and casual observers because wildlife is unscripted — you never know what you might see! Join in and view one of our many live streaming wildlife cams located at https://pixcams.com/ and on their Facebook page.

The Stormy Oaks Chimney Swift Cam came about because when Dr. Jim Kellam, a professor at Saint Vincent College, began volunteering there, he learned of the staff’s great fondness and expertise in rehabilitating injured Chimney Swifts. He saw they had two Chimney Swift towers used by the birds. In an effort to expand Saint Vincent College’s reach in promoting ornithology, he brought together Stormy Oaks and PixCams in this joint effort. Please subscribe to our Youtube channel to keep updated on our academic programs and research activities based at the college.

Saint Vincent College (www.stvincent.edu) is an educational community rooted in the tradition of the Catholic faith, the heritage of Benedictine monasticism and the love of values inherent in the liberal approach to life and learning. The college enrolls approximately 1,500 undergraduate students and 200 graduate students.

Saint Vincent’s Department of Biological Sciences is where many of our students train to identify and study birds. We offer degrees in Biology, Environmental Science, and Health Science. Dr. Jim Kellam teaches Ornithology, Wildlife Biology, and Conservation Biology courses; Dr. Michelle Duennes teaches Ecology, Evolution, and Invertebrate Zoology courses; and Dr. Pete Smyntek teaches Earth Systems Science. We all supervise numerous undergraduate research projects each year, some of which utilize the data collected from this bird feeder camera.

Saint Vincent College is located near Latrobe, Pennsylvania. learn about it at www.stvincent.edu.

Published by the Ornithology Program at Saint Vincent College.

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