Friday, September 04, 2009

Vaux's Swifts on YouTube

On Sunday, August 30th, 2009, I happened to see an amazing sight at the twilight hour. I was walking past old Agate Hall (an elementary/junior high school building that was built in 1924 and is now part of the U. of Oregon) with a couple of friends when I saw an odd group of people standing in the alley. They were looking toward the old smoke stack and staring up at the sky. A big hawk flew out of the chimney and, pretty soon, tens of thousands of smaller cigar-like birds started to circle the sky in swirling tornado formation. Around and around they flew until one of them said, "let's go in" and they followed the leader into that dark hole until there were none left. It seemed to take forever and it reminded me of a David Lynch film. It was a truly surreal sight to behold. I never heard of Vaux's Swifts before, but I was lucky enough to be walking by that night. Apparently, there are other cities with old schools and large chimneys (like the Chapman School in Portland, OR) where these particular birds go to roost or nest. Not sure what they are doing down there- I'm still learning. Anyway, here's a film made in Portland that I found on YouTUBE that clues you in to what I'm talking about. The action happens near the end, so keep watching until you see the birds do their thing. Crazy man.

The Art of Amy Crehore


Tom said...

Crazy! What do they do when they get inside there?

Tom C.

Amy Crehore said...

I don't know exactly. I think sometimes they build nests on the walls of the chimney. Maybe someone will see my blog post and explain it to us. there are so many birds I had to wonder if some of them never made it back out alive. Literally tens of thousands of birds, I think. They gave the appearance, from a distance, of large insects.

treplovski said...

That's astonishing! I bet the racket in that building is deafening.