Birdville Birds Losing Their Nest

Conservationists want old chimney preserved

By Melissa Newton
|  Tuesday, Mar 24, 2009  |  Updated 5:36 PM CDT
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Birdville Birds Losing Their Nest

Steve and Dave Maslowski | Getty Images

Chimney Swift (Chaetura pelagica) in a nest inside a chimney.

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Birdville Birds Losing Their Nest

Conservationists say construction at a Tarrant County high school will destroy a nesting site of hundreds of birds.
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Renovation and construction of a high school in Tarrant County's Birdville Independent School District is almost complete, but wildlife conservationists said the construction is threatening to destroy the nesting site for hundreds of valuable birds.

During late spring and summer, an old chimney stack at Richland High School in North Richland Hills, doubles as a nest for Chimney Swift birds.

"Chimney Swift is an amazing little bird," Wildcare education director Bonnie Bradshaw said. "Our best natural pest control service."

Chimney Swifts eat a third of their body weight in mosquitoes, flies, and other insects every day.

Richland High School is currently under construction. Once it's complete, parts of the old campus, including the chimney tower, will be torn down, much to some resident's dismay.

"It seems ironic that a district named Birdville would not try to preserve a chimney shaft that is filled with birds that are so necessary to our community," said North Richland Hills resident, Sandy Dunn. "We would like the district to save the tower at all costs."

Birdville communications officer Mark Thomas said the district has uncapped another chimney half a mile away at Holiday Heights Elementary, in hopes the birds will nest there when they migrate back to North Texas.

Conservationists said that won't do any good because Chimney Swifts are territorial.

"If there are already birds living there, they will not let the Chimney Swifts move in," Bradshaw said. "If we didn't have Chimney Swifts, the mosquitoes would be a big problem."

Concerned citizens can address the Birdville school board at the meeting Thursday at 7 p.m.

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