Notes from Chaetura Canyon: April 2018

By the end of April, most of the Chimney Swift towers on Chaetura Canyon were occupied – including all five in the Chimney Swift Glade, the Castle, and the large Observation Towers on the residence. The skies were full of their cheerful chatter and will remain so through the next few months.

Many fledglings were out and about, including Carolina Wrens, Bewick’s Wrens, Carolina Chickadees, Black-crested Titmice, House Finches, and Lesser Goldfinches. Keeping the seed feeders, peanut butter logs, and mealworm dishes full had become nearly a full time job. Laura Hopkins and Gary Cobb of The Wild Bird Center of Lakeway graciously donated many bags of seed and numerous feeder blocks to help stretch the feeding budget.

The monthly point count yielded 25 species, and we were up to 57 avian species for the year by May 1st. The two most remarkable sightings of the month were Broad-winged Hawks mating on top of a utility pole (witnessed by Georgean) and the discovery of a hummingbird nest by one of our Birdathon participants.

Broad-winged Hawk at Chaetura Canyon.

Female hummingbird in her nest at Chaetura Canyon.

We were fortunate to have a visit in mid-April from Paul Salaman, CEO of the Rainforest Trust. Carol Bennett and Jo Wilson brought Paul out for breakfast and a tour of the sanctuary. We had a delightful morning walking the trails and enjoying the Chimney Swifts overhead.

Paul Kyle, Georgean Kyle, Paul Salaman, and Jo Wilson at Chaetura Canyon.

Between events and visits, maintenance continued. The last 240’ of high-fence on the Little Beaver Hill portion of the sanctuary was completed. That parcel is now completely deer-proof, and habitat restoration can now begin in earnest. Other “heavy” work included harvesting of old cross-fencing and work began on an expanded parking area on Hunter’s Pass. The weather was still mild enough to do some planting, and over 100 new plants were put in the ground in various locations throughout the sanctuary.

There are many events planned for Chaetura Canyon over the next few months, including the Morning Canyon Crawls and Evening Swift Watches on the second Saturday of each month. Check the Chaetura Canyon page for more information.

Thanks to the following individuals for donations of useful items to Chaetura Canyon in April:

  • Wild Bird Center of Lakeway: 20 assorted suet cakes, 115 pounds of assorted seed mixes
  • Anonymous: assorted seed cakes and seed and Bird Magnetic Poetry Words
  • Baker Chickens: one dozen eggs for Birdathon breakfast
  • Mark Wilson and Dana Kuykendall: 40 pounds of black oil sunflower seed

Wish list: We are seeking donations to cover the cost of two new permanent benches at the head of the Lower Canyon Rim Trail. These can include a memorial or dedication plaque. Please contact us for more information (Kyle@ChimneySwifts.org).

We hope to see you in the Canyon soon!

Georgean and Paul
Sanctuary Stewards

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