Notes from the Canyon

Visitors to Chaetura Canyon will notice some great new additions to our trail network at the Sanctuary! Thanks to the hard work of volunteers in the winter and spring, we have been able to complete a connective trail through the new property addition, construction of more than 50 new steps, and installation of a new bridge in the lower Canyon. This trail will ultimately connect the new Windows on Nature wildlife viewing area with the main trail system.

The Windows on Nature is a wonderful new feature for Chaetura Canyon that provides a place to view the flora and fauna in a comfortable, relaxed setting away from the residence. Constructed of all recycled materials, the Windows on Nature includes benches, shade and camouflage to observe activity on the Champaign Notch tract. More than 60 new plantings of native vegetation will enhance the already diverse plant life and provide food and habitat for birds, butterflies and other nectoring insects. Many butterfly larval host plants have also been added. Several feeders and a small water feature have been installed to enhance the food supply, but the focus is to create a place to observe wildlife “in the wild” rather than on feeders. During April and May alone, more than 40 species of birds, butterflies, reptiles and mammals were recorded. Future plans include making the site more sophisticated with a metal roof, rainwater collection system, a composting toilet and ADA accessibility. These plans will require funding outside the normal fundraising activities at Chaetura Canyon. Anyone interested in sponsoring any aspect of this project is invited to contact the Sanctuary Stewards (

The 2017 Event Season at Chaetura Canyon began with the annual Chaetura Canyon Birdathon on April 15th. Fifteen participants joined the Stewards for breakfast, a tour of the Canyon and wrapped up with a delicious lunch on the deck overlooking the sanctuary. The Chalupas and Chimney Swifts fundraising dinner took place on May 6th, the inaugural Chaetura Canyon Crawl on the morning of May 13th and Second Saturday Swift Watch that same evening. An Appreciation Day for the Board of Directors, Advisory Council and TAS Staff was held on May 28th, and was accompanied by a spectacular thunderstorm. The storm subsided just as presentations on the three TAS sanctuaries wrapped up, and several of the participants took a twilight tour of the Lower Canyon Trails before returning to watch the Chimney Swifts go to roost.

June brought another Second Saturday Canyon Crawl and Second Saturday Swift Watch – both of which were booked to capacity. There are still spots available on the last Canyon Crawl of the summer to be held August 5th. You can register by contacting the Kyles via email.

August will be a slow month at Chaetura Canyon while the Kyles travel to Lac Èdouard, Quebec to assist with the construction of several new Chimney Swift Towers in the northern-most range of their favorite birds.

The final scheduled event of the year will be the Mediterranean Feast fundraising dinner on September 16th. This is usually a sell-out, so register early online on our calendar or contact us directly via email (

Check the calendar in the fall for some possible additions to our Chaetura Canyon event season!

We hope to see you in the Canyon soon!
Georgean and Paul Kyle, Sanctuary Stewards