The purpose of Chaetura Canyon is to preserve a small piece of natural habitat within a rapidly urbanizing area of Central Texas while providing a safe place for native species of birds to forage, raise their young and rest during migration.  Because it is a preserve and not a park, Chaetura Canyon is not normally open to the public.  However, periodic workshops and tours are conducted for educational purposes.  To facilitate these events, more than one mile of trails in the preserve provide access for maintenance and guided hiking.  The continued natural state of Chaetura Canyon is assured by perpetual restrictive covenants that prevent any further development of the property even by future owners.    


The name of the sanctuary comes from Chaetura pelagica, the scientific name for Chimney Swifts.  The site has become an important observatory for the study of these common but little know birds. The results of the observations at Chaetura Canyon have been published in local, regional, national and international publications and are the subject of two books about Chimney Swifts published by the Texas A&M University Press.

Chimney Swift research at Chaetura Canyon began in earnest in 1989 with the construction of two large wooden towers.   These towers are constructed with inside walls of Textured 1-11 siding with the grooves running horizontally. They measure approximately 24” x 24” inside, stand 20’ tall and are an integral part of the residence.  They have viewing ports on the second story of the house where we are able to relatively easily monitor the home life of the swifts.  We have come to call these the “Observation Towers”.  When detailing our observations they are referred to as the “North Tower” and the “South Tower”.    There are currently 18  Chimney Swift towers at Chaetura Canyon that experiment with  several different sizes and designs.