17 May 2010

Creighton University Continues Destruction of Swift Havens

Another chimney has been torn down due to the spreading expansion of Creighton University campus.

The latest loss is a chimney on the 1900 block of Cuming Street, which has been known to be used by chimney swifts. In particular, on:

  • 10 September 2003: 5 roosting swifts
  • 9 September 2005: a bunch of roosting swifts
  • 2 October 2007: 8 roosting chimneys

There are a number of additional swifts currently in the neighborhood, so it is highly plausible that swifts were using the chimney as it was being torn-down. It is even likely that there was a nest in the chimney.

Remnants of a historic building
which had a chimney regularly used as a roost by Chimney Swifts.

It is certain, however, that officials did not check to determine if nesting activity was underway.

The destruction of an active bird nest is a violation of a state of Nebraska regulations and the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Elsewhere on campus, university officials were noted to have recently installed window film on the glass of the walkway between the science building and business building.

View of the building walkway showing the window film
used to create a visual barrier in order to reduce bird strikes.

Sadly, there has been nothing done on the upper floor on the west side of the Reinert Alumni Memorial Library, and a dead, female, Rose-breasted Grosbeak was noted here.

Carcass of a female Rose-breasted Grosbeak, killed by a window strike
at the Reinert Alumni Memorial Library, Creighton University.

Upon leaving the campus, my travel was stopped by a public safety officer. He wanted to talk to me, so I moved from the street to the nearby sidewalk. And then when he started talking about how I'd been on private property, the campus grounds - I moved some more to make sure I was standing on a public sidewalk.

The conversation continued. His first comment was that they were having troubles due to bike thefts. The next question: "Is that your bike?"

Of course it was because why would my ride be some lame bike whereas mine is riding real fine, and there is no bicycle theft in my history, nor will there ever be. I then said it was nice to see that they were working hard to protect the bikes!

After saying he was not going to foist some illegal activity on me, he wanted to know what I was doing on campus. I explained, the bird strike situation. He asked if I was the guy with the website? What website might you be referring to, I asked.

The big question was when he wanted to see my identification. My response was no. You have your position and I have mine, which did not include showing an id. I did give him my name, when asked.

By this time, there were two other public safety officers hurriedly approaching the scene.

It was a good time to go, so I indicated that I would be leaving, as there was no reason to be detained. Onward my route continued, though I should have kept to the street sidewalk, rather than cutting across the block on a campus walkway. One officer is enough, and if the other two had arrived while I was stopped, there certainly would have more more interrogation, as three men would have a lot more to question and nit about than one.

After this, the pictures of the site of the torn-down building were taken, from the public sidewalk along Cuming Street.

Creighton is being very successful in tearing down most of the chimneys usable by swifts in the neighborhood. There is already a shortage of nesting sites, and the loss of each one is a negative impact to the local population.

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