Tony Wood, a much beloved leader of our local Audubon Chapter, passed away on April 22, 2022. On August 20, a bench, constructed of Trex lumber recycled plastic, was placed at Cape Henry Audubon Society’s Weyanoke Sanctuary in memory of Tony. The commemorative plaque on the bench reads “In Loving Memory of Tony Wood, President - Cape Henry Audubon Society, 2013-2020.”
Heartfelt thanks are extended to all those who contributed to the fund for this bench. Additional contributions are still being accepted. If you wish to make a donation, send a check to CHAS at Cape Henry Audubon Society, PO Box 1533, Norfolk, VA 23510-1533. Please note on your check that the contribution is in memory of Tony.
The bench will be formally dedicated on October 15, 2022, around 9 AM. Additional information will be forthcoming.
Chimney Swift Conservation Project
We are delighted to report that two Chimney Swift Towers located at Paradise Creek Nature Park in Portsmouth are completed! One tower is standing at the end of a path that leads up to the highest point in the park. The other is within an area that is surrounded by a chain link fence. Steve Living with the Department of Wildlife Resources is working on a large full color informational sign as well as a dedication plaque to be placed near the tower on the hill.
If that’s not enough good news, the tower project made the front page of the Virginia Pilot, on the top half no less, in the Monday, August 15 edition. And CHAS was credited with participating in the realization of this important conservation project. Wow! Great publicity for a great cause!
Now our efforts are focused on monitoring the towers for activity. CHAS members have stepped up to go out to the towers a few evenings every week through the end of October to check for roosting birds. We also heard from Dr. Ashley Haines, Norfolk State University, asking if her biology students could participate in monitoring the towers.
Looking forward, CHAS has committed $1,200.00 to funding the next tower project. A Chimney Swift Committee is to be formed to make decisions regarding the location and future partners so that we can continue our Chimney Swift conservation efforts.
Cape Henry Audubon has set out to add Norfolk to the list of more than 40 U.S. cities with "Lights Out" programs! The mission of Lights Out is to engage building owners and managers to turn off excess lighting during the months migrating birds are flying between their nesting and wintering grounds.
Our region is part of the Atlantic Flyway. Millions of birds use this flyway twice annually to migrate to and from their nesting grounds. Birds migrate at night to avoid predation and because the night air is cooler. Artificial (urban) light confuses and disorients birds. Instead of flying by, as they are meant to do, birds are attracted to our artificial light. Circling in confusion wastes critical energy needed for the marathon that is migration. Some birds crash into buildings and die. Many birds land off-course, exhausted, away from food sources and vulnerable to urban threats.
Research conducted over 50 years by scientists at the Field Museum in Chicago quantified the bird-saving potential of turning lights out in downtown buildings. Halving lighted window areas decreased collision counts by 11 times in spring and 6 times in fall. Lights Out has secondary benefits in protecting moths, reducing light pollution, reducing energy costs for businesses, and reducing the region's overall carbon footprint.
The first phase of CHAS’ Lights Out Norfolk involves collecting data. Specifically, we are surveying at dawn for bird deaths in downtown Norfolk during fall migration. If you would like to help, sign up at the next CHAS program meeting, September 21, 2022. See information above for location and time of meeting.