Those amazing Vaux's Swifts have returned by the thousands to roost in the chimney of NW Portland's Chapman School. The Portland Audubon Society's annual "Swift Watch" officially begins on September 6th, but locals have been gathering for the last three nights at about 7 pm to watch the birds spiral in the sky and funnel into their nesting place at sunset (about 8 pm). Yesterday evening we were treated to a brief raptor invasion! Everyone applauded as the last swifts dropped into the chimney.
This is the largest collection of migrating Vaux's Swifts in the world! The swifts aren't nesting in the chimney . . . they have already raised their families by July. Now they are on their way south and will only be here for a couple of weeks.
If you would like to watch the swifts, Audubon volunteers will be on hand at Chapman Elementary School, NW 27th and Pettygrove, September 6 though 27. Plan to arrive by 7pm or so. The swifts enter the chimney after sunset, just before dark, so the time gets earlier as the month progresses.
For more information on the Swifts and Swift Watch: