When: Around sunset every evening through the end of May
Where: Clay Place chimney in the Fir Grove section of Stewart Park off Harvard Avenue behind the Umpqua Valley Arts Center
Many of you have participated in Umpqua Valley Audubon Society’s fall Roseburg Swift Watch held in September during the Vaux’s Swift southward fall migration. But, of course, there is also a spring migration when the birds head north. The spring migration has begun!!! Although Audubon doesn’t host a formal Swift Watch in the spring, Audubon members will be at the chimney periodically doing counts in conjunction with the Vaux’s Happening project. We may not be there every evening, but the Swifts will be! Our regular Swift Watch with more activities will return in September!
Vaux’s Swifts (pronounced “vawks”) nest only in Western North America, migrating to Central and South America for the winter and then back to the Pacific Northwest and Canada for the summer. Each year, Swifts use the chimney behind the Umpqua Valley Arts Center in the Fir Grove section of Stewart Park off of Harvard Avenue as a communal roost site during their annual northern and southern migrations. Dozens or hundreds of Swifts drop into the chimney around sunset to spend the night. Historically, communal roost sites were in storm or fire damaged big old trees. As big old trees have become less numerous, the birds have adapted to using old industrial chimneys. Unfortunately, these are also becoming less common. While numbers vary from year to year, the display can be spectacular – particularly in the fall. Fall roosting is more predictable in terms of numbers and timing – generally within a few minutes of sunset. In the spring, roosting numbers and timing vary more, although still generally around sunset and still amazing to watch. Information about roost sites along the Pacific flyway is available on the Vaux’s Happening website.
So, get out there and welcome our little buddies back and cheer them on as they head north for the summer.