In 2009, EGBSC supervised a crew of Ontario Stewardship Rangers, consisting of four 17 year olds and a crew leader. They worked directly with EGBSC partners and volunteers on a variety of on-the-ground stewardship projects. One project they helped volunteer with was the construction a Chimney Swift nesting platform, in partnership with the Parry Sound Nature Club and spearheaded by Glenda Clayton.
Volunteers from the Parry Sound Nature Club and the Ontario Stewardship Rangers constructed a Chimney Swift tower 12 feet in height on Seguin River Island. Chimney Swifts forage for insects, and they often catch their prey in flight. They are usually found near water, where flying insects can be found in larger groups.
The tower was designed to mimic an old hollow tree, which is the kind of habitat they require. The tower will act as a breeding area for one dominant couple, and it will be a location the birds can return to, after returning from South America in the spring.
Glenda Clayton organized the project, partnering with the town for land to use, Parry Sound High School’s forestry class and area businesses for recycled wood. Ontario Stewardship Rangers rowed back and forth to the island, carrying a total of 66 pounds of concrete and piles of wood. After the concrete footings were hand-mixed and set, the tower was constructed and painted.
The Chimney Swift has been classified as ‘Threatened’ in Ontario. In the past, clear-cut logging practices destroyed the large cavity trees that Chimney Swifts used for nesting. They soon adapted to nesting in chimneys; however, when chimney regulations changed in the 1970s, it eliminated many chimneys that the birds could use for nesting. Another potential reason for their population decline is related to a decline in flying insects, which they depend upon for food.