This evening we joined our good friends Jess, Darsey and Brian to view the Swifts at the Chapman School in NW Portland (NW 26th and Pettygrove). Swifts are swallows that for a few days each year swirl in a whirlwind around the chimney at the old school and then finally funnel down into it, one-by-one, until each and every one of the thousands of birds have made it inside to roost. We think this is just a stop in their southern migration for the winter, but apparently these birds are here every year.
There were probably a thousand people out watching tonight with cameras, babies, blankets, picnics and wine. Everyone seemed to be in a good mood and there was a huge gasp when the birds finally started to dive into the chimney just before 7:30. Here is a video about 2/3 of the way through the plunge:
Update: Finally, here’s the YouTube link.