Through a unique partnership, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism and Humboldt High School have successfully created a safe haven for area birds that would have otherwise been displaced. Two years ago, Humboldt High School had a large colony of chimney swift birds that had nested and roosted in the school’s abandoned boiler chimney. Because the school had plans of eventually demolishing the old structure, Humboldt High School staff knew it was essential that an alternative roost site be built for the birds – a colony that, at one point, had grown to nearly a thousand birds. Enter KDWPT’s nongame donation program, Chickadee Checkoff.
Thanks to Chickadee Checkoff, Wildlife Integration LLC and B&W Trailer Hitches, Humboldt High School was able to construct a combined habitat improvement and educational wildlife display on school grounds. The display consists of a chimney swift roost tower and a bat house, providing much-needed shelter for both winged species. Interpretative signage was also placed near the roost tower, providing students, teachers and school visitors with educational information about the display and live nest site.
Just last year, several dozen chimney swifts were observed roosting at night in the newly built tower, and evidence of new nests were also discovered.
“This is a prime example of the importance of partnerships and non-game programs like Chickadee Checkoff,” said Daren Riedle, KDWPT wildlife diversity coordinator. “It’s really cool to see projects like this, because everybody wins.”
Through tax-deductible donations to KDWPT’s Chickadee Checkoff program, individuals can support Kansas’ nongame species. Chickadee Checkoff donations fund nongame wildlife research, habitat enhancements/restorations, and educational projects like the chimney swift roost tower at Humboldt High School.
Consider making a contribution to Chickadee Checkoff this tax season by marking the Chickadee Checkoff box on your state income tax form (line 36 on K40 form); there is no minimum or incremental requirement. Donations can also be mailed directly to KDWPT by addressing the donation to Chickadee Checkoff, c/o KDWPT 512 SE 25th Ave, Pratt, KS 67124.
Private donations are crucial to managing Kansas’ nongame species since Chickadee Checkoff dollars are matched by federal funds. Contributions have been steadily decreasing in recent years, making the need for Kansans to mark the Chickadee Checkoff box this year more critical than ever.
By “checking the chickadee,” you’re taking an active part in managing and conserving Kansas’ diverse wildlife for future generations.
For more information, visit www.ksoutdoors.com/Services/Wildlife-Diversity/Chickadee-Checkoff.