“It isn’t just birding. It’s more than that—the quiet at dusk, the colors and clouds of the sky at sunset, the “screaming frenzy” of many or few tiny birds converging for the night as they tornado into the chimney. It’s a religious experience.”

-Mary Ann Kruse (from an article written by Damian Fagan  in The Source)

Vaux's Swift Survey

Vaux's Swift Northward Migration 2021 Statistics 

Local Project Co-ordinator Mary Ann Kruse reports that the data for this year is now available. These data were collected by volunteers via the online survey tool, then analyzed & finally posted by Larry Schwitters, the National Audubon Society (NAS) Vaux’s swift coordinator. Should you have further questions re: the data, please contact Larry @ leschwitters@me.com

97 observers made 574 observations @ 37 sites finding 33 active

299,788 Vaux’s swifts were documented going to roost


Larry states:


"1. We had the most Northbound observations ever, ever.

2. Our almost 300,000 documented wee birds was our third highest total for a spring migration.

3. The average swifts per observation (522) was the 7th best since 2008. Right in the middle."

Our final count week of 2020 fall migration ranged from a high of 18  1 & then four evenings of zeros. After a few pre-migration counts in late July, migration count began on 03 August ending 03 October. For those interested in seeing cumulative data for this fall migration, they will be posted  here: www.vauxhappening.org/data/2020.html

For the impressive Spring 2020 Northbound migration, 55 observers made 500 observations at 41 sites finding 39 active and documenting 400,375 Vaux’s Swifts going to roost. 


For comparison, 2019 data documented 218,658 total roosting swifts. No conclusions have been drawn re: these stellar 2020 numbers—your speculations are always welcome. Perhaps with more people becoming birders during COVID19 (based on binocular sales, bird app purchases, etc), there might have been more people watching & submitting their findings? More details here:  https://www.vauxhappening.org/

~M.A. Kruse

Vaux's (rhymes with foxes) swifts, a Pacific Coast migrant found west of the Rocky Mountains, migrate through Bend both spring & fall. In spring they are counted migrating north from mid-April to mid-June. During the summer months, nesting residents are seen in small numbers; these summer birds are believed to be immature or aged birds that choose Central Oregon as their northernmost summering grounds. In fall, the swifts are seen migrating south from mid-August to mid-October. Fall roosting counts are historically larger in number due to current year juveniles making their first migration south with adults.

Historically, Vaux’s swifts roosted in old growth snags. With fewer snags available, the swifts have adapted to roosting in chimneys which accommodate their communal roosting behavior. The three roosting chimneys known to have been used in the past five years and are located at:

The primary chimney used since 2017 is the Boys+Girls Club chimney.


At the start of each migration, COBOL posts will be made once the “preferred roosting chimney” is identified. Every attempt is made to count the duration of migration with online surveys submitted nightly. Nightly surveys are submitted using the simple and user friendly online survey tool ( https://www.vauxhappening.org/contact-us/submit-a-report.htm). Anyone seeing Vaux’s swifts using a different chimney, please let us know and/or become involved by counting the birds and posting the count and location using the online survey tool.

The online surveys are compiled by Larry Schwitters, the National Audubon Society’s (NAS) Pacific coast compiler. All things Vaux’s swifts (including the survey data and other information) may be found at http://www.vauxhappening.org/Vauxs_Happening_Home.html.

The time swifts enter a particular chimney is dependent on time of sunset, weather, wind, and historic migration memory; birds may enter in an impressive cloud or trickle in. We arrive prior to sunset and stay until the miracle is finished, that is when no more swifts are seen or heard. All are welcome to enjoy the show or help count.


Please contact either Bob Johnson or Mary Ann Kruse for more information.