Join the Audubon Society of Portland at Chapman Elementary School before the Swifts continue their journey south!
"Every year in late August-September, one of Portland's most spectacular natural events begins: Thousands of Vaux’s Swifts gather in the city as they prepare to migrate to Central America and Venezuela. Migrating swifts often use chimneys as roosts (places to sleep), and they are likely to return to the same roost year after year.
One population has been returning to Chapman since the 1980s, and it is one of the largest known roosting sites of migrating Vaux's Swifts. Swift watching has become a popular activity at Chapman, and on many evenings, more than 2,000 people gather to watch these aerial acrobats." -Audubon Society of Portland
More important information:
- Plan to arrive one hour before sunset. Allow extra time to park at Montgomery Park or Selco Community Credit Union and walk to the school. The swifts begin gathering in the sky above the Chapman School neighborhood in large numbers 40-60 minutes before sunset.
- Closer to sunset, the swifts begin circling directly above the school chimney in a large swirling flock – this is a dramatic sight and ideally you should be there before it begins. The birds begin to enter the chimney within 10-30 minutes after sunset. Entry time is between 10 and 20 minutes.
- Timing can vary as the season progresses and according to different weather conditions. During rainy conditions the swifts may go to the roost early or even spend the day in the chimney if conditions are not favorable for foraging for insects.
- Do not expect to find parking near the school! Please DO NOT drive up NW Pettygrove Street past NW 26th Avenue – it is a dead end and turn-around traffic creates a difficult and dangerous situation.