Since the 1980's, one of Portland’s most spectacular natural events has taken place in late August, continuing to thrill Portlanders and visitors alike through much of September: Thousands of Vaux’s Swifts gather in the city as they prepare to migrate to Central America and Venezuela These unusual birds begin to gather about an hour before sunset, and "pour" themselves into a decomissioned chimney at Chapman Elementary School, where they will spend the night. It is a wondrous site to behold!
Swift Watch 2012
What: Watch Vaux’s Swifts prepare to roost for the night
When: One hour before sunset, each night in September
Where: Chapman Elementary School in northwest Portland
Migrating swifts often use chimneys as roosts (places to sleep), and they are likely to return to the same roost year after year. One swift population has been returning to the Chapman chimney since the 1980s, and it is one of the largest known roosting sites of migrating Vaux’s Swifts. a popuulation of Vaux’s Swifts has used Chapman Elementary School’s chimney for their evening roost during their fall migration.
Join Audubon Society of Portland volunteers on the school lawn and in neighboring Wallace Park most September nights to observe the birds gathering overhead. On most evenings, Audubon volunteers will be on hand to share information about Vaux’s Swifts. Be sure to visit Audubon’s table, especially if you like Backyard Bird Shop free stuff and discounts! Happy Swift Watching!!