Swifts Return Like Clockwork


Myrna Jensen

The Swifts migrate to Mexico and Central America. There are about 1.5 million Swifts migrating.

To students and families who are looking for a fun outdoor activity on a summer/fall evening, pack a picnic and watch the Vaux’s Swifts migrate into Portland. These birds are on their way to their winter grounds in Mexico and Central America.

Like all migrating bird species, the Swifts are looking for protection and food. Chimneys and dead trees offer shelter from weather and keep predators at bay.

There are about 1.5 million swifts migrating to Mexico and Central America but not all of them are coming to Portland.

“We do know that as many as 6,500 use the Chapman School chimney on some nights in mid-September,” said Robert Lockett who is volunteering with the Swift watch.

Swifts are roosting at Chapman Elementary School. Most leave the next day but some stay longer. Plan ahead if you want to attend. Arrive early so you can find parking and be sure you bring chairs, blankets, and binoculars. The Swifts come in for the night around 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

For more information go to:


Chapman Elementary School Address:

1445 NW 26th Ave, Portland, OR 97210