The Museum’s Blog

Welcome Back Vaux’s Swifts!

Swifts on Oak-Beeville Texas 2013. Photo by: Jason Collins

The Vaux’s Swifts have returned to the Courtenay Muesum’s brick chimney! As of Sunday evening, April 29, local birder and naturalist, Krista Kaptein, spotted two hundred and seventy birds entering the chimney and they’ve visited successive nights with arrival times between 7:30 and 8:30 and in varying numbers.

Last year, the swifts made an unexpected visit in mid-May. Here’s CHEK’s May 13, 2017 take the on the event with help from Fox and Bee Studios . The swift’s arrival became a must-see for island birders and some came from as far away as Victoria.

For the swift’s 2017 arrival, local birders let us know how special this visit was and connected staff to Larry Schwitters, a Washington resident and scientist who leads the Audubon supported Vaux’s Happening site which tracks numbers of the “wee birds” and roost sites and has a live cam inside Monroe, Washington’s Wagner Center chimney. Monroe residents even celebrate the swifts’ large migratory event, more than 20,000 birds, with “Swift Night Out”. Here’s a closer look at swifts getting ready to leave the Monroe chimney this spring 2018.

The City of Courtenay also helped last year with a soot clean-up and with taking measures to keep swifts safe in the chimney.

We hope you have a chance to come down to see the swifts in the evening and to welcome them back.