Thursday, August 6, 2020

Vaux's Swift

Last night my sister Susan invited us over to their house to watch the Vaux's Swifts fly into their chimney.  We went over with camera and chairs to watch the spectacle which began about 8:30 at sundown.  To the average non-birder it could be viewed as just another oddity of  bird behavior, but to some one obsessed with birds as I am, it was a moment to cherish, examine, document, and research. My sister and her husband have lived in their house for over two decades, but this is the first year they noticed the Swifts.  They were first puzzled by loud peeping noises, which they discovered where coming from their chimney, and eventually decided where coming from Vaux's Swifts nesting. Last night Jeanette and Susan concentrated on getting an exact count as the birds entered the chimney (116), while I clicked away with my camera trying to get a photo.  We have since learned a number of interesting things about these amazing birds that travel from their wintering grounds as far as South America.  They are always in flight, even as they migrate thousands of miles, they are able to sleep as they cruise at high altitudes on their journeys both south and north. They make their nest in a variety of places, chimneys are one of them.  But, the spectacle we witness this time of year is their communal gathering in preparation for their journey south in a month or so. All these are facts on the grand scale, but the local significance of our observations last night of these 116 Swifts is the large number here in Dallas and Polk County.  Prior to our count the largest number reported in all of Polk County to e-Bird, a world-wide data-base, was 77 in August of 2012 in Independence. So now we have a new high count for Polk County and a new location to watch for the coming and goings of the Vaux's Swift.    


  1. Amazing to see them preparing for their journey. You have a great and meaningful hobby.

  2. Thanks Jim. I do enjoy it, and it gives me something to do everyday.