[Tweeters] Save-our-Swifts meeting February 28, Monroe

paulette.hunter at att.net paulette.hunter at att.net
Mon Feb 25 15:25:28 PST 2008


Please join members of Pilchuck, ELWAS, and Seattle Audubons at a public meeting
being held this Thursday, February 28 7-8:30PM, at the Monroe School District
Administration Building, 200 E Fremont Street, Monroe, WA. The purpose of the
meeting is to bring attention to and problem solve the planned demolition of an
old brick chimney at Frank Wagner Elementary School in Monroe. School district
officials fear that the chimney used by 4-7000 vaux's swifts for their fall and
spring migration, poses a safety risk to students in the event of an earthquake.

This colony of vaux's swifts may be the largest colony of vaux's swifts in
North America. With the help of Larry Schwitters, a swift expert, US Fish and
Wildlife, and administrators from the Monroe School District, we are looking for
solutions that will safeguard the students and the birds.

As you may know with the loss of suitable old hollow trees and the demolition of
many of these old chimneys, the swifts are finding fewer and fewer sites they
can use for roosting. It appears that their numbers are in sharp decline and we
will be working together to do a careful assessment with the hopes of increasing
federal protection. Swifts must attach to a vertical surface. The structure of
their feet simply does not allow them to rest or roost on the limb of a tree.

Chapman Elementary in Portland faced a similar situation a few years ago and
with community help, Portland Audubon and the Portland School District did find
a solution. We are encouraged by their success but solutions are expensive and
financial resources are tight.

The birds are due back in late April and early May. It's a treat to watch them
at sunset swarm into their vortex and descend into the Wagner chimney by the
thousands. Please join us this Thursday night as we work together to find a
solution to this problem.

Susie Schaefer
Vice President, Pilchuck Audubon
Paulette Hunter
Education Chair, Seattle Audubon

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