Dr. Ray L. Winstead
Professor of Biology, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Aerial Insects Balloon Project

"Aerial Insects Available as Food for Chimney Swifts in Western Pennsylvania"

with undergraduate researcher Bill Mikolay


                 Chimney Swifts are birds commonly seen during the spring and summer months as they fly over downtown Indiana, Pennsylvania and over the Indiana University of Pennsylvania campus while “hawking” aerial insects, their almost exclusive source of food.  My objective for the proposed research study is to answer the question "What aerial insects are available for local Chimney Swifts to eat?"  My proposed method of answering that question would be to capture the insects by attaching Acrylic "sticky traps" or "flight intercept traps" at different heights to the tether rope of a ten-foot-diameter helium balloon.  The insects would then be preserved in alcohol for identification by the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

Sutton Hall                                  Balloon      Methodist   Old                                
                                                        Church   Courthouse

Orange research balloon flying 200 feet over Indiana, Pennsylvania
(Photo taken from the Catholic Church in the Northeast)

Grant awarded February 20, 2006

1. Cover Page and Abstract

2. Project Description

3. Project Budget

4. Brief Resume

5. Assistants

6. Photos of Assistants

7. Preliminary Results

8. More Photos

9. Chimney Swift Information
      a) Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology
      b) ChimneySwifts.org






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