Location:   Fir Grove section of Stewart Park behind the Umpqua Valley Arts Center off of Harvard Avenue

Dates/Times:   Friday evenings, 8/23, 8/30, 9/6, 9/13, beginning an hour before sunset.  Sunset is at approximately 8:00 pm in mid-August and 7:30 pm by the mid-September, so the event will start around 7:00 the first two Fridays and at about 6:30 the last two Fridays.

Vaux’s Swifts (pronounced “vawks”) nest only in Western North America, migrating to Central and South America for the winter. Each year, thousands of Swifts gather in the chimney adjacent to The Clay Place in the Fir Grove section of Stewart Park off of Harvard Avenue behind the Umpqua Valley Arts Center during their spring migration. At sunset during migration, Swifts gather in the dozens, sometimes hundreds or thousands, to communally roost. Typically, these roost sites are, as here, old industrial chimneys. While numbers vary from year to year, the display can be spectacular.

Umpqua Valley Audubon Society members will be available Friday evenings to serve as interpretive naturalists, with information and brochures about Vaux’s Swifts as well as more general information about birding and our natural world. Each Friday evening local artists will be leading free art activities for kids ages 5 and up; participants must be supervised by an adult.  In addition, weather permitting, the “Swifts Sisters and Friends” will be playing music such as:  Old Time Fiddle, Blue Grass, and Americana music, so come out and join in the fun.   

Throughout the fall migration, Audubon members will be participating in a West Coast wide data collection effort. We know swifts have lost much of their natural habitat and the number of chimneys available for roosting and nesting is also on the decline. Little is known about even the most basic habits of Vaux’s Swifts, to say nothing of how many there actually are. Working in conjunction with our partners up and down the west coast, we hope to fill in some of the data gaps. 

This event is a partnership of Umpqua Valley Audubon Society, the City of Roseburg Parks & Recreation, and Umpqua Valley Arts Association. For more information, contact Umpqua Valley Audubon Society at info@umpquaaudubon.org.