Historic Flight Foundation

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Swifts Roosting in Monroe

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Each September thousands of migrating Vaux’s Swifts roost in Monroe School District’s Frank Wagner Elementary School chimney to rest while on their southern migration from north-western Canada and Washington State to Central America and Venezuela. These 4-5″ long birds are the smallest and most numerous of the swift species in Washington State.  They spend much of their time in the air and forage, eat, drink, court, collect nesting materials and mate all in flight. Vaux’s Swifts prefer to roost in hollow old trees but frequently use brick chimneys as a substitute. Prior to entering the chimney, the swifts often gather in great numbers and circle the chimney. As they begin to enter the chimney, they change from their head-first direction and go in tail first.