PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Good news — swift watching, one of Portland’s favorite September activities, is back.
This will be the first time Portlanders gather for the annual Vaux’s swift watch since 2019. For the past two years, the Portland Audubon canceled the watch due to COVID-19 concerns.
Chapman Elementary School, located at 1445 NW 26th Ave, is one of the best spots to see thousands of birds congregate before they roost for the night. The swifts go-to roost, or place where they gather to sleep, is the school’s chimney.
Portland Audubon, a non-profit environmental organization that advocates for wildlife, says that one population of Vaux’s swifts has gathered at Chapman since the ‘80s. This site is one of the largest known roosting areas for the swifts.
The Audubon society reports that some nights, over 2,000 Portlanders come together to watch the birds. All throughout September, people can arrive at Chapman Elementary just one hour before sunset to catch the swifts. Early arrival is suggested to find parking for the busy visit.
Many people bring blankets or chairs to sit on as they watch the birds’ massive swirling flock. Binoculars are recommended for anyone who wants a closer look.
The birds begin flying into the chimney anywhere between 10 and 30 minutes after sunset. Community scientists are there each night to count the number of swifts that gather.
Go here for additional information on the swift watch.