Vaux Swift Watch

Friday, September 12, 2008


We went to see the Vaux Swifts circle into the old chimney at Chapman Elementary School in NW Portland this evening at an event the Audubon Society calls "Swift Watch." I threw together a dinner of egg salad sandwiches, chips and salsa, Kombucha, and cookies, and off we went. The campus has a steep hill, on top of which most people sit for an optimal view of the swifts, and someone is usually thoughtful and generous enough to bring in a big stack of cardboard on which the kids spend hours of fun sliding down the hill on the dry grass.



If you haven't been to see the swifts and you live in Portland, this is an entertaining and relaxing outing. Get some friends together, bring a picnic dinner, and expect to see the swifts start to circle in around 7PM. They spend an hour circling around, then around 8PM, they all circle in and drop into the chimney. There's usually an incident with a hawk or two that dives in right at the end, at which point all the swifts attack the hawk and chase it away and the crowd cheers. I wonder if they try for a swift dinner every night, only to be chased by thousands of swifts. You'd think those hawks would learn.



Swift Watch starts in late August and ends around the first week of October, but the best time to go is during the first three weeks of September, when Vaux Swift numbers are greatest.



What a relaxing way to spend a late summer evening with family and observe nature in the city of Portland. So far, September has been sunny and bright! I'm hoping for more of that in the upcoming weeks--after all, no one likes to visit a soggy pumpkin patch!

2 comments:

Andrea said...

I remember reading about that last year. It sounds like so much fun! Great pictures Karli.

Thinkfast4 said...

We enjoyed your post. You captured the atmosphere at Champan Elementary School's bird watching event perfectly.

Lee Jackson
Author
Swifty's Big Flight
www.flyingswift.blogspot.com

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