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Audubon’s Vaux’s Happenings—15 Million and Counting with Larry Schwitters
March 17, 2021 @ 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
An aerialist of western forests, Vaux’s Swifts spend most of the day in the air, taking insects and spiders in rapid, twisting flight. Nature’s exterminator, a nesting pair can harvest nearly 12 thousand insects per day. But a single pair is a rare sighting indeed with up to 35 thousand individuals roosting in the same site.
Unlike its eastern counterpart, the Chimney Swift, Vaux’s Swifts more often make their communal nests in hollow trees in mature evergreen forests. But it’s a chimney that brought Larry Schwitters and the Audubon Society of Portland to the birds’ rescue. The 1925 brick chimney at Chapman Elementary School was one of the largest roosting sites in Washington State. And to save the birds, the children were forgoing use of the attached heating system and bundling up during the roosting season. Sixty-thousand dollars and a new chimney-free heating system later, Schwitters and Audubon expanded the project to tirelessly locate, raise awareness of, and preserve important roost sites all along the swifts’ migratory path, from the Yukon to Guatemala.These sites have been used by over 15 million swifts in the last 26 migrations.
Everything about this swift, the Vaux’s Happening Project, and Project Director Larry “Dr. Swift” Schwitters is fascinating. Join us for a Zoom presentation by the preeminent expert on Vaux’s Swifts as he shares the stories, images, and recordings of this notable species. No need to bundle up.
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