10 October 2011

Considering a Dundee Church Chimney

While out and about recently looking at places where Chimney Swifts had been known to roost this time of autumn, a dramatic change was noted at Dundee Presbyterian Church at Happy Hollow Boulevard and Underwood Avenue.

On October 4th, it became apparent that what had been an open chimney was capped by a metal contraption and a flue, which completely prevented any swift access.

In looking at previous records for this place, two years ago 297 swifts used this structure as a night's roost. A few days previous to this record, more than a hundred were also present.

In evaluating the situation further, though the chimney was blocked, there were a couple of swifts which flitted past at dusk, apparently evaluating the condition.

Officials with Dundee Presbyterian Church were subsequently been contacted a few times regarding the situation. They were not aware of what they had caused when they put in new heating boilers. No reply has yet been received on how they will consider the change they have caused.

It is very obvious that the chimney being blocked has meant the loss of a prominent roosting site in the Dundee area, forcing the birds to go elsewhere.

Blocking the chimney and forcing the birds to be "adrift in the wilderness" is basically no different than someone putting plywood on each door of the Dundee Presbyterian Church, keeping them from their celebratory sanctuary.

There is nothing different from that happening in comparison to what they did to their birdly neighbors, the Chimney Swifts. They may have not known about the results of their actions, but they are now aware of how they are influencing the local swifts.

While taking these pictures on October 10th, swifts could be readily heard twittering in the airspace, eating bugs which could otherwise be pesky pests for the human residents. The bugeaters are benefiting the other residents, yet the blocking of a chimney - or complete removal in many instances - is one indication of how they get treated in return.

Church Indifferent

The elders of the Dundee Presbyterian Church were indifferent to the fate of the chimney swifts. Nothing will be done to address the change, according to the operations manager of the church. When the latter gentleman was spoken to, he tried to explain that they had landscaping around the building, but that was cut-off as any greenery has nothing to do with a chimney.

At the church sign, it says at the very top: "All Are Welcome." This is obviously not the case and expresses a view of hypocrisy. If you go along with what we want, then come in, but if you are being of our great world, and use our church to celebrate your existence, and new boilers are needed and the chimney gets block, then you are not welcome.

This is the sign which presents one message, though the truth is otherwise. In the upper background is the capped chimney.

During a second stop at the Dundee Presbyterian Church to contact an official on this matter, the people there were over-bearing, and pompous, trying to insist that I do what they wanted, even trying to be forceful. They kept asking what I wanted, as if it was their business, which it is not.

At the Dundee Presbyterian Church, there could be no information found on how the church has any concern for the environment. Nothing on this topic could be found on their website. There was no bicycle rack at their empty shell of a building, with so-called "elders" which have such a myopic view. On Sundays, adjacent streets are packed with vehicles as the members come to a place now known to not welcome all. And the church is trying to work with the city to get additional parking so more vehicles can take over the streets, according to information read while waiting at the place.

Where are the options for green transportation, such as promoting bicycling or car-pooling?

Elders of the Dundee Presbyterian Church did not consider any options to retain their avian visitors. The church is anything but welcoming and may they suffer the fates due to their action and decision.

The Chimney Swifts should be known and appreciated, but at the Dundee Presbyterian Church, just the opposite happens. Hopefully the birds will be elsewhere and may the bugs and insects they had consumed be left behind to bother the church people.

Car of a member of the Dundee Presbyterian Church blocking the handicap access point along the sidewalk. This is a violation of a city ordinance. The person driving this car was not visibly handicapped. Parking pictures taken Sunday morning October 16, 2011.

Cars of church members parked in the bicycle route along the west portion of Happy Hollow Boulevard. Note how the lane ends. There is a block section along the east side of the Dundee Presbyterian Church where there is no marked lane, probably so the church could have parking.

Another view of the parking situation. The markings in the street seem to indicate there had once been markings for the bicycle route, but they were removed, undoubtedly at the request of someone not wanting the lane there.

Illegal Parking Depicted

Members of the Dundee Presbyterian church continue to show obvious disregard for other people in the community. Upon visiting the church area on October 23rd, the following two instances of vehicles blocking the handicap access for the sidewalks were noted. The two vehicles were also causing an impediment to pedestrians and bicyclists using the sidewalk.

A city of Omaha ordinance prohibits the parking of vehicles either blocking the sidewalk and/or blocking these street level access points along the sidewalks.

Both vehicles shown could have been ticketed by law enforcement officials.

This is another example from October 31, 2011.