Swifts Are a Thing

Vaux’s Swifts

I love stationary and Lark Press in northwest had this card but never understood the significance. It was one in a series of city landmarks like the bridges and the state sign when you cross over Burnside Bridge into downtown. This particular card was of a chimney and some dots around it. I didn’t get it.

For a nice evening out I suggested we visit Chapman Elementary School in northwest. In September migratory swifts pass through and use an abandoned chimney at the school to rust on their way south. The weather was going to be good and it just happened to be September when I found out about this.

We both picked up some items from the grocery store and headed to the school right after work. They start to circle the chimney just before sunset. I should have known from the parking situation things were going to be busy. When we got to the school I was shocked to see just how many people were there.

Vaux’s Swifts

There was plenty of time before sunset but the school was already packed with people. All the good spots were taken so we laid out the blanket and sat under a tree. As the sun set the birds started to gather. You could hear this weird chirp in the area. It was really neat watching the birds circle the chimney as they land inside. I don’t know how they perch in there. It was crazy watching this large groups of birds swirl around spinning tighter and tighter before the land inside. Two thousand people show up and who knows how many birds.

We spent several hours there that night just talking. It was really nice and relaxing. The sun was completely set and there was no one else in the park by the time we left. Now I understand the note card I saw so many months ago. It really is a think here to watch birds roost in a chimney in northwest Portland.


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