February 17, 2021

S.O.S. Save Our Swifts by Saving their Urban Habitat: Telling the Story of the Chimney Swifts and their Connection to Our City

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Date/Time
Date(s) - 02/17/2021
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

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Join us (virtually) for this first in a series of presentations in partnership with Lehigh Valley Audubon Society: S.O.S. Save Our Swifts by Saving their Urban Habitat: Telling the Story of the Chimney Swifts and their Connection to Our City.

Learn more about the Masonic Temple swifts and make a donation to support their habitat here. 

Chimney Swifts and their Adaptation to Urban Habitats, 2/17

  • Scott Burnet, Lehigh Valley Audubon Society (LVAS) Chairman of the Habitat Committee
  • Peter Saenger, LVAS President, Ornithologist at Muhlenberg College Acopian Center for Ornithology
  • Jennie Gilrain (moderator), LVAS Member and Bethlehem Area School District Teacher

Peter Saenger and Scott Burnet will educate the public about these unusual birds. Swifts originally roosted in hollow trees of old growth forests, but since the Industrial Revolution, have adapted to live in chimneys in urban environments. Approximately 2,200 birds were counted entering the Masonic Temple chimney in South Bethlehem in August 2020. Scott Burnet estimates that tens of thousands of chimney swifts use this roost yearly. Since the Masonic Temple was built in 1925 (95 years ago), it is reasonable to assume that up to 95 generations of swifts have called this chimney home. Peter Saenger and Scott Burnet will tell the story of how these aerial acrobats have cohabitated with the people in multiple roosts in Bethlehem since the Industrial Revolution.

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