Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Swifts Return

Each spring and autumn thousands of Vaux Swifts return to Eugene, Oregon during their biannual migrations. While in the area the patrol the Willamette River eating thousands of insects, and then roost each night in this chimney on the University of Oregon campus. 

The Coopers Hawks have learned that it is an All You Can Eat Buffet while the swifts are in town. The hawks perch on the edge of the chimney and pick off a swift or two.   

The swifts gather in dark swirling clouds...

...then approach the chimney...

...and down they go!
They'll spend the night packed in tight perched on interior the chimney walls.

I was disappointed as I did not think there were many birds.
The colony has several thousand at peak times.
We were, however, treated to a lovely sunset.

10 comments:

Margaret said...

Wow, that's pretty cool. So I guess this is a non-used chimney? Too bad about the hawks. Too bad there weren't as many swifts too.

Vickie said...

Neat post Beth. :)

Melody said...

Interesting post about the swifts. It's cool that they roost inside the chimney at night. But, you wouldn't want them in your chimney.... lol.

cucki said...

Very interesting post :)

Bianca said...

What an interesting post. I'm just imagining that chimney full of birds.

Barb said...

My DD and her husband were in Oregon on business one week end and the people they were visiting told them about this event although I believe they were in Portland. Laurie just thought it was so amazing! What a lovely sunset!!

Chris said...

Wow! Maybe more swifts will show up?Gorgeous sunset!

Ann at Beadlework. said...

Lovely sunset Beth, you sound as though you're having a busy time (I was catching up on your recent post). Enjoy your cat sitting stint, I have a friend who does this for friends in Chicago for two Bengals and she enjoys it.

Catherine said...

Amazing! And what a gorgeous sunset!

Maggee said...

Wow! That is pretty cool. Have not known of this before... I know it is the way of nature for the hawk, but does he really HAVE to pick a few off?? Bummer... Love the sunset! Beautiful!!