Vaux's Swift Survey
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.