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Vaux’s Swift watching

September 24, 2009
Chapman Elementary

Chapman Elementary

swifts 003

This was the first time we witnessed this amazing birding event. Since the 1980’s, every year around this time, Vaux’s Swifts gather to roost in the large chimney of Chapman Elementary in NW Portland. I have no idea how so many of them are able to nest in that chimney, but they somehow manage. Quite the crowd had gathered on the lawn to watch the flock gather and circle the chimney. If you looked further off into the sky in any direction you could see more on the way. And of course, a mass gathering of small birds inevitably attracts larger predators. A hawk made an appearance the night we went, and I hear a peregrine falcon is another regular. He coasted peacefully along with them, but when he dove the little Swifts scattered and the crowd boo-ed their disapproval.

When the Swifts finally make their descent into the chimney for the night they resemble a funnel or a tornado.  Check out my video here. I captured what I could with my little camera. If you are in Portland in September, it makes for a lovely picnic evening. For extra kid entertainment, there is steep grassy bank for sledding down on sheets of cardboard!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Meg permalink
    September 25, 2009 1:23 pm

    What an adorable blog!!! I saved it in my favorite 🙂 Look forward to catching a glimpse into your life in Ptown. Reading your blog makes me miss Oregon sooooooooo much….

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