Love birds? Check out Birmingham Audubon’s mini-grant program and new Chimney Swift tower at McWane Science Center

Birmingham Audubon
Chimney Swift Tower on top of the McWane Center. Photo courtesy of Birmingham Audubon.

If you love and care about birds, the Birmingham Audubon is one of the fastest growing organizations in the South that advocates and educates the public about our avian friends.

This week, two important  Birmingham Audubon projects were brought to our attention. Check them out!

Birmingham Audubon’s Education Mini-Grant Program

We know this is a very short deadline (July 31), but the application is very succinct and to the point.

Birmingham Alabama
Painted Bunting – photo by Ken Hare

In a nutshell, educators from the greater Birmingham area (i.e., Jefferson, Shelby, Bibb, Blount, Chilton, St. Clair, and Walker counties), as well as those in the Tuscaloosa, Montgomery, Auburn-Opelika, Anniston, and Dothan areas, are eligible to apply. To be considered, your school or organization must be a non-profit and tax-exempt with IRS public charity status, or be a public entity qualifying under Section 170(c) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Birmingham Audubon will be awarding grants up to $1000.  Applicants  may request funding for:

  • physical improvements (e.g., native plantings, bird feeding stations, bird houses, outdoor classrooms, pollinator gardens) at school or community habitat sites
  • select field trips to visit significant public bird areas (Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge, Dauphin Island, &c.).
  • student birding equipment (e.g., classroom binocular sets, field guides, bird-song recording devices)
  • innovative, student-led projects with citizen-science or habitat-monitoring components
Photo of Greg Harber teaching birding at Caldwell Park to a young student. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now.

These grants are perfect for environmental education programs or local science clubs. As we all know, $1000 can go a long way.

Visit –  to download an application today. Birmingham Audubon will make decisions on the awards in September.

Chimney Swift Tower at McWane Center

While we are discussing environmental education, the McWane Science Center and Birmingham Audubon have constructed a Chimney Swift Tower onto of the Center’s garage.

Why is that important?

According to Birmingham Audubon, each spring, thousands of Chimney Swifts return to Birmingham from their Amazonian winter grounds, intent on building nests and raising their families. The only problem is that the small-scale industrial and residential chimneys in which the birds prefer to nest are becoming harder and harder to find.

McWaneTower 001 e1532978997238 Love birds? Check out Birmingham Audubon's mini-grant program and new Chimney Swift tower at McWane Science Center
Chimney Swift Tower on top of the McWane Center. Photo courtesy of Birmingham Audubon.

This past year, Birmingham Audubon ramped up efforts to promote public awareness of Chimney Swifts, and took concrete steps to enhance their urban habitat. With volunteer and community support—including funding from Birmingham Audubon members, Junior Board, and the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham—they’ve built new nesting towers throughout the metro area, including one at the McWane Center.

Pretty cool stuff.

If you wish to know more about Chimney Swifts, mini-grants or just birding in general,  connect with Birmingham Audubon at: 


Pat Byington
Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.

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