Bird migration is one of the great wonders of nature. And there are few spectacles in nature to match a flock of migrating Vaux’s Swifts coming to roost for the evening. The various Audubon entities that follow the incredible migration of Vaux’s Swifts up and down the West Coast created this site to put you in touch with the great shows being put on throughout the region by the birds as they make their journey. Check back regularly — and enjoy the show!
Jeff Chapman reports that the swifts have returned to the Chester Building in downtown Los Angeles on their way north:
Happy spring to all! Today reminds us that migration for many bird species along the Pacific is in full swing. It also got us wondering about where the swiftys are right now. We took a quick look at eBird.org to see where they were turning up.
And while there have been a few reports of a couple of birds here and there in California (which according to LA County Museum of Natural History’s Kimball Garrett are almost certainly wintering here), most of the birds appear to still be south of US, mostly in Southern Mexico, Belize, and Central America. We will continue to monitor eBird to see if we can pinpoint their major arrival in the States. Check back for more info on our/your favorite bird…the Vaux’s Swift!
So MAKE A CARD for us, will you !!!
(…. OK – for those not in-the-know, BTN is “BirdingTheNet!” )
I was surprised to see over 3000 Vaux’s swifts using the Agate Hall chimney this evening. It was clear and about 59 degrees with the full moon rising. The resident Cooper’s hawk slowed their entry, but they took about 13 minutes to enter starting at 6:50 pm.
Oct 8 is pretty late for Vaux’s Swifts to be roosting just 30 miles south of the Canadian border. Keith Wiggers had a 1757 total last night which puts Northern State’s 2011 Southbound overall roostings at 214,526. I’m looking at a bright blue sky for the first time in a week. Will the little birds leave early and travel far today? I would bet they do but they have fooled me before.
Brad Benson and his flocks of Vaux’s at Rio Lindo will be on NPR KQED radio this Friday. Rusty was edged out of the staring role because of the McNear birds poor attendance record. The story was put together by freelance journalist Julia Scott.
Don’t know what all the story covers or the time, but we bet Brad is going to sound real good.
The prime directive for southbound 2011 in Washington State was to get a boatload of data from Northern State Hospital and JBLM (Joint Base Lewis-McChord) chimneys, both of which we felt would be super-important roosting sites, but we didn’t have the data to be sure. See what our counts were:
Our friend Rusty Scalf reports that the numbers at the McNear Brick and Block in Northern California continue to fluctuate, reinforcing his idea that the migration is coming in pulses. A friend of his reported 2,100 Vaux’s Swifts there a couple nights ago. The next night, Scalf counted more than 5,000.
The Vaux’s Swifts were out big time over Broadway in downtown Los Angles last night. Lots of people were there to see the spectacle, and the birds didn’t disappoint. Click below to see a larger version of the photo.
See below for an account of counting the swifts at the defunct chimney stack at the Old Northern State Hospital grounds in Sedro-Woolley, WA. Gives you a sense of how dramatic the swift roosting experience can be…
- Tonight (9/27) was both one of the most boring, and, the most exciting at the stack. I started at 5:05 pm. Fewer than 20 swifts entered the stack by 6:55 pm (i.e., almost 2 hours later!), although many were swirling around and making false passes at the stack the whole time. Then in the next 8 minutes at least 6,150 went in. They were going too fast to count very well. No hesitation, no breaks, just a solid “tube” of birds. Then a Merlin kept the remaining group high for three minutes, and grabbed a swift at 7:06. It took the swifts three minutes after that to come back down to the stack, and they wasted NO time getting in. They mostly went in in rapid “clumps” of 1-200, until the last 3,200 went in in less than 4 minutes!