Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Watching the Swifts

Thousands of Vaux's Swifts pass through Portland annually on their migratory journey south. Every night in September at sunset, these birds amazingly come into a tornado-like formation and funnel down into the chimney at Chapman School to roost for the night.

This video was taken last night and towards the end, you can see a bird of prey disrupting the funnel

Vaux's Swifts are closely related to the hummingbird. They have tiny legs and feet which allow them to perch on vertical surfaces but not on branches. As such, they spend most of their life "on the wing". They eat, mate and even pick up items for their nests while flying.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't know they were closely related to the hummingbird! We have another type of swift that stays in an old chimney from an elementary school. They tore down the school just a few years ago, but luckily some advocates got the word out about the swifts and managed to save the chimney. It's pretty awesome seeing them come in to roost. Thanks for sharing!