Not any old chimney can boast of being the resting site for up to 20 thousand swifts in any night! That honor is reserved for the old heating chimney (no longer used by humans) at Frank Wagner Elementary School. Frank Wagner Elementary is right in downtown Monroe.
Because of the age of the Frank Wagner chimney, there was some question about it’s risk of falling in an earthquake. That’s why we ran a successful campaign to earthquake retrofit the chimney – making it safe for birds AND kids. As of August 2010, here’s the result.
That funny stuff sticking out above the chimney (with wires going up to it) is for our webcams. We worked hard with the Monroe School District to install webcams both inside and outside the chimney, to record the “Swift Ballet”. Here is a close-up of the outside camera, taken during installation.
And here is a closeup of the inside camera, and the inside of the chimney – look at all that great swifty-holding brick!And the big test – the swifts have adjusted to the camera, and are happily still dropping into their roost… Bill Lider took this picture with a telephoto and flash.