Every fall Vaux’s Swifts, a small bird breed native to North and South America, prepare to migrate to their wintering sites in South and Central America. On their way down south the birds use our neighbor, Chapman Elementary School’s chimney as an evening roost.
Vaux’s Swifts spend almost all of their daylight hours in the air foraging for insects. Shortly after the sunset, thousands of them gather in the sky, forming a dark cloud, and hover above the Chapman’s School like a tornado until they suddenly begin their descent into the chimney.
The “Chapman Swifts” are North America’s largest concentration of Vaux’s Swifts. They have used the school’s chimney on their migration route as a stopover since the 1980s and can be seen every evening from mid-August to mid-October.
This is one of Portland’s most spectacular natural events and every night up to 2000 spectators gather around the Chapman School in Wallace Park. If you like to witness this incredible phenomenon get directions from our front desk staff.