The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation has installed its latest information kiosk, and it comes with a cool option: a central tube designed to provide nesting opportunities for Chimney Swifts.
Why is this important? Check it out:
Though still common, Chimney Swifts have been experiencing steady declines in our state for decades. Our landscapes tend to lack the giant dead trees that these birds nested in originally, and increasingly our urban landscapes lack the open chimneys that the birds took to so readily following European settlement of North America.
July 7, 2014
A Service of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation
Information Kiosk Added to Great Plains Trail
Chimney swift towers are going up across western Oklahoma as the Oklahoma Wildlife and Prairie Heritage Alliance (OWPHA) and Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) partner to promote the wildlife watching and outdoor recreation opportunities found along the Great Plains Trail of Oklahoma.
A Great Plains Trail of Oklahoma kiosk was recently installed at Red Rock Canyon State Park. Photo provided by Sharon Bennett.
A series of 13 road-based driving loops, the Great Plains Trail showcases the unexpected landscapes and unique wildlife found in western Oklahoma. Over 100 public and privately owned destinations are featured on the loops, including 11 Oklahoma state parks and 16 areas managed by the Wildlife Department.
The most recent kiosk installation at Red Rock Canyon State Park near Hinton marks the fourth of 14 planned kiosks. The park is on the Caddo Canyon driving loop. Melynda Hickman, a Wildlife Department biologist, said, “The construction process for each tower begins when students with the Treasure Lake Job Corps, a free education and training program that helps young people learn a career, cut and pre-assemble some parts of the kiosk.” Final construction is completed over a two-day period at the predetermined installation site.
Hickman says the kiosks, constructed in the shape of a chimney, “provide travelers with information about the landscape and habitats to be explored and interesting wildlife species found nearby.” Maps and brochures of local attractions are also provided at the kiosk. The chimney tower also serves as a potential nesting site for chimney swifts, a cavity-nesting neotropical migrant. This bird arrives in our state in late March and departs in mid-October. Hickman said, “The chimney swift spends a majority of its life airborne.” Due to extremely small feet, this bird cannot perch. Instead it clings to the walls of chimneys, tree cavities or caves when not in flight.
Hickman applauds the work of the OWPHA members and Wildlife Department biologists involved in the construction process. Darold Hunter of Pond Creek serves as the kiosk construction coordinator. He ensures the site is properly prepared and equipped with electricity, water and supplies for the scheduled installation date. The project’s outreach coordinator, Sharon Bennett of Frederick, promotes the new kiosk and Great Plains Trail to local community groups and media. Larry Wiemers, Wildlife Department biologist at Cimarron Hills Wildlife Management Area, transports supplies and sections of the pre-assembled kiosks to the installation site.
Larry Wright, OWPHA coordinator and owner of a destination on the Caddo Canyons driving loop, has arranged future kiosk locations. The next kiosk installation is planned for the Walters Tourism Information Center.
The mission of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation is the management of Oklahoma’s wildlife resources and habitat to provide scientific, educational, aesthetic, economic and recreational benefits for present and future generations of hunters, anglers and others who appreciate wildlife.
News Contacts: Jena Donnell or Micah Holmes.
Telephone: (405) 496-0350
This program receives federal assistance from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and thus prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age, and sex (gender), pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (as amended), Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. To request an accommodation or informational material in an alternative format, please contact the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation by calling (405) 521-3855. If you believe you have been discriminated against in any program, activity, or service, please contact U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, Attention: Civil Rights Coordinator for Public Access, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA 22203.