A connected chimney project to save the chimney swift

The Granby Zoo is constantly finding new ways to participate in the conservation of endangered species. Future investments will focus on the Chimney Swift with a “trendy” chimney project in Granby and follow up to Ecuador. This will be their first project in a series in Latin America.
The chimney project is an opportunity seized on the fly by the zoo. “We learned that the City of Granby wanted to build a historic chimney to reflect the city’s industrial past,” says Patrick Paré, Director of Conservation and Research at the Zoo. On the river path, there are already three small ones, and here they want to make one twenty feet high at Tannery Park. “

The Zoo received a $ 10,200 grant from the Quebec Wildlife Foundation, under the Wildlife in Danger program, to carry out its part of the work, whose overall budget is $ 53,000, as well as an up-to-date inventory. The City is planning a $ 38,000 budget to complete its work and the grant will allow the equipment to be installed. A two-week work is planned for the fall, says Benoît Carbonneau, coordinator of the city’s engineering division. An authorization is expected from Environment Quebec since the chimney will be built near the river, between the dam and the parking lot.

Project Changes

The size of the chimney could allow the Chimney Swift to be used as a dormitory or as a nesting box. Mr. Paré seized the opportunity to propose a more advanced project to the City, which she accepted.

The plans have been modified so that all the elements are collected to favor the installation of this species of bird. The minimum of 20 feet (6.2 meters) high is required first. “They wanted to make the brick fireplace and, what interests me, it’s inside,” explains Paré. We wanted it to be as rough as possible inside, so the mortar will not be smooth. They agreed to open at a minimum of 24 inches since, in the literature, we see that birds are more interested in openings of this size to make a dormitory. ”

If the chimney is indeed adopted as dormitory, as the Granby Zoo hopes, a hundred birds could rest there in the spring while waiting to build their nests in the chimney of a house. Mr. Paré said that their nests are not harmful to residential chimneys.

One or two pairs could also nest in the industrial chimney breeding.

Because of the equipment that will be installed, the chimney will be connected by the Granby Zoo to observe the population of chimney swifts. There will be temperature and motion sensors as well as a camera.

The reproduction of a false Chimney Swift, reproducing the song of the bird, will also be installed inside the chimney to attract them in the spring.

Access to the base will also allow the team to make observations from within.

The zoo is inspired by what is done in this area in a few projects in Canada and the United States.

Guided tours and interpretation panels are also in the boxes.

Inventory In

parallel, the Haute-Yamaska ​​Bird Observers Club (COOHY) will make a new inventory of the species in Granby and the Foundation for the safeguarding of the ecosystems of the territory of La Haute-Yamaska ​​(SETHY Foundation) has been mandated by the zoo to meet the owners of non-residential properties welcoming chimney swifts.

The conservation organization lists eleven that have dormitory or nesting chimneys, including St. George’s Anglican Church, Cégep de Granby, St. Benedict School and Immaculée-Conception Church.

“We do not want them to destroy their chimneys, close them or put a hat on them when they open. They have also been favored because they are around the big chimney we are going to make. ”


When the cold returns to Quebec, the chimney swift migrates to Ecuador or Peru, in South America. The Granby Zoo will also visit Ecuador to continue its research and conservation projects with this threatened bird.

Patrick Paré, director of conservation and research at the Granby Zoo, is working on a project in this Latin American country on the Las Gralarias Reserve.

“We think we’ve found a place where there’s a Chimney Swift, where people are really interested in what we’re working with,” says Paré. We would like to offer them a Modus antenna to capture the birds that pass with a transmitter installed on their feathers. ”

He would also like to make inventories in the forest to make a situation and try to capture to install a transmitter on their feathers to follow their migration north.

“It’s a huge project! I’m in the infancy, but I should go on a mission in November or early winter. I am developing a big conservation initiative for the zoo in Latin America. ”

The organization wants to reduce its presence in Cameroon so that locals take the place of conservation and start conservation projects in Latin America. A total of five countries are targeted, says Paré. Projects could target the “jaguar, sea turtle, bats and possibly primates of the New World,” he lists while keeping a reserve on the countries in question. There is even a species of frog that is endemic in one of the countries. ”

The zoo is also preparing a partnership with a Quebec university to work on these conservation projects. There too, he prefers not to reveal the name of the university at the moment.

The student population of this university will be required to go on-site for internships remunerated by a scholarship system.

“At the Zoo, we are excited by this project, which will be formalized a little more after the holidays, comments Mr. Paré. Going to Africa is a challenge. There is the time difference and the conditions are very very difficult. In Latin America, it is not so far, there is little or no difference, it is less developing countries than Cameroon, so there are more ways to accommodate us and to carry us. ”

Also, it will be less expensive, which will allow more work to be done on site.

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