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Orange School Chimney Swift Tower; the new tower is in the foreground (with the elementary kids’ signatures on the tower) and the old chimney in the background. Carol Boyce, retired teacher who spearheaded the project is on the left.
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Hi <<First Name>>!
Welcome to the first edition of our new electronic connection brought to you by the Iowa Ornithologists' Union Communication Committee. We hope these short emails will keep you updated with the things that are happening in your organization and in Iowa birding in general. Often times the content may be a short introduction to a topic with links to more information on our website or elsewhere.

Good News for Chimney Swifts in Waterloo
IOU projects are funded mostly by your annual dues so your membership is important! In 2015 the IOU Projects Committee awarded $500 to help construct a Chimney Swift tower to replace a nesting site that was being demolished. This project was not only great for the swifts but generated a lot of enthusiasm with staff and students at the elementary school. Funding for a second tower has been awarded for 2016. Read a part of the report for last year's grant submitted by Carol Boyce.

"The chimney at Orange Elementary School in Waterloo, built in 1915, has been the home for nesting chimney swift pairs for many years. It has also served as a migration stop over for up to 200 birds at a time. In the fall, the number of chimney swifts flying down the chimney in the evening has been spectacular.

"The school building was old, and it was finally replaced with a beautiful new building 1/2 mile north of the original school in 2013. At that time the school board voted to tear down the old school to make way for a housing development. Students and staff became concerned for the chimney swifts, knowing the Orange School chimney swifts would lose their home.

"Our first goal for this project was to build two chimney swift towers near the old school before it was taken down. We planned to place one tower at the new school and a second tower at a farm directly across from the old school. We wanted to establish a home for nesting pairs as well as a migratory stop for other swifts. We have created a wetland and a prairie, and we have planted over 90 trees and bushes since the new school opened. We realized building the chimney swift towers would help us learn more about this bird as well as provide a home for chimney swifts once the school comes down...

"All summer, Mike Henning and Carol Boyce checked the tape of recorded chimney swift calls that was placed at the base of the tower to make sure it played continuously. We were rewarded for our efforts this fall to find a pair had nested in the tower over summer! We also observed 40-50 swifts entering the tower during migration time.

"Grant money received from the Iowa Ornithology Union purchased the materials needed to build the chimney swift tower. We were able to build one tower this year, but we hope to find funding to build a second tower. If a second tower is built, we decided we would like it also placed at Orange School rather than at the farm across the road."

Read the full project report (
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