13 May 2015

Creighton Destroys Chimney Swift Breeding Habitat

This a copy of an email sent to officials at the Nebraska field office of the Fish and Wildlife Service and a person in the facilities office of Creighton University on the morning of May 4th. An aerial photo of the buildings was included as an attachment. No response was received from either, so they were worthless in trying to protect the swift habitat. The site, which was a pile of rubble on May 13th, will be converted to a grass lot. It is quite disgusting that a building was torn down now to put in turf, when the demolition could have been delayed, until after the nesting season.

Demolition by a contractor is currently underway on buildings on the Creighton University campus. The removal is along the 2000 block of Cuming Street.

One building being removed is 2011 Cuming Street. The building has a chimney which is in good shape and 2.5 bricks by 2.5 bricks in size.

While looking over the site on the morning of May 3rd, chimney swift activity - a pair - was noted at the chimney site, as well as again on the morning of May 4th.

There are three reasons that nesting would be occurring in this chimney:

1) Repeated occurrence of birds during the nesting season
2) adequate size of the chimney
3) presence of multiple swifts in the immediate vicinity

Due to access limitations, there has been no opportunity to actually look down the chimney.

Creighton University is listed as the property owner, according to details at the Douglas County assessor's office. Since they are responsible for the removal, the University should be issued a citation for failure to evaluate the site for nesting activity (during the April 15 to July time period) and violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, i.e., destruction of a nest.

This matter needs to be suitably dealt with by the Fish and Wildlife Service.

The contractor should not be held responsible for a failure by the university to evaluate the site for nesting birds.

Creighton University should be fined $1000 for this violation. The money should be given to Heron Haven for construction of a swift tower.

(The aerial photo included shows the buildings being demolished, with the chimney mentioned in the center of the image, a bit below the blue splotch.)

Usable chimney at 2011 Cuming Street, prior to its demolition by Creighton University

Capped, but potentially usable chimney at 2011 Cuming Street, prior to its demolition by Creighton University

Creighton is focused on demolition of the majority of buildings in this area which were formerly useful as habitat for swifts. Refer to these two previous articles indicating similar demolition by this university of higher destruction, not learning:

Ongoing Expansion Threatens Chimneys for Urban Swifts
Creighton University Continues Destruction of Swift Havens

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