Chapman Elementary School, like the Northwest Portland International Hostel, is home to travelers from all over the world during the month of September. But unlike the travelers at the hostel, the foreigners at Chapman School don’t carry passports or luggage with them.
This is because the tourists at Chapman School are birds – Swifts to be exact – who use the chimney at the elementary school as their nightly roost before continuing on their journey to Central America and parts of Venezuela.
Portland residents have gathered since the early 1990’s to wonder at the sight of the Swifts blackening out the sky and swirling as a vortex into the chimney.
In fact, so many Portlanders have marveled at the event that it is easy to say its become somewhat of a cult phenomenon in the city. There’s even been a documentary made about the sight called “On the Wing” which explains the story of these birds and shows some amazing footage of them.
So bring a blanket and a picnic and don’t miss the largest collection of roosting Swifts in North America! It will surely be a night to remember!
Chapman Swifts: September 1st – September 30th from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Chapman Elementary School