Portland Chapman School Swifts Watch - Exploring My Life

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Portland Chapman School Swifts Watch

Vaux’s Swift Watching in Chapman School Portland

Vaux's Swift Birds are using the Chapman Elementary School chimney as an evening roost during their fall migration. Vaux's swift (Chaetura vauxi) is a small swift native to North America and northern South America. It was named for the American scientist William Sansom Vaux.
Chapman Elementary School Oregon
Chapman school Chimney
Portland Chapman School Swifts Watch
The "Chapman swifts" are part of a migratory population of Vaux's swifts that roost seasonally in the chimney of Chapman Elementary School in Portland, Oregon. This is North America's largest concentration of Vaux's swift.

Every evening from mid-August to mid-October, thousands of swifts gather in the sky over the school shortly before sunset. Count estimates of 1,700 to 35,000 swifts have been reported. Shortly after sunset, over a period of 10 to 30 minutes, they fly into the top of the brick chimney (constructed c.1925) to roost on the interior surface until they depart at sunrise. The school is on the birds' migratory route to their wintering sites in southern Central America and Venezuela.

·         What: Watch Vaux's Swifts prepare to roost for the night
·         Wow: The Chapman school Chimney has provided shelter for as many 40,000 swifts in one night.
·         When: Every Year September, One hour before sunset,
·         Where: Chapman Elementary School in northwest Portland

The birds began using the site in the early 1980s in response to the loss of much of their natural roosting habitat — old growth Douglas-fir and forest snags. Vaux's swifts prefer roosting in standing hollow trees.
Vaux's Swift Birds Watch in Oregon
Vaux's Swift Birds Watch Portland
Chapman swifts Migration
Vaux’s Swift Watching in Chapman
Vaux’s Swift Watching Portland
To protect the swifts, the school stopped using its heating system during the weeks of roosting. Students and teachers wore sweaters and jackets, especially toward the end of September when classroom temperatures can drop to 50 to 60 °F (10 to 16 °C). Around 2003, the Audubon Society of Portland, school fundraisers and corporate sponsors donated $60,000 to $75,000 for an alternate school heating system which is independent of the brick chimney. The chimney is now maintained solely for the use of the birds.

Address : Chapman Elementary School, 
1445 NW 26th Ave Portland, OR 97210 United States

Free Swift Watch parking is available at Montgomery Park and SELCO Community Credit Union.
Montgomery Park is located six blocks from Chapman at 2701 NW Vaughn St. Note: from the Chapman area, NW Vaughn cannot be accessed from NW 27th, 28th or 29th Ave.
SELCO Community Credit Union is located at NW 25th and Thurman. Note: The SELCO lot will be available each night any time after 6:00 p.m.

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