Swifts

Since the first season of IFC’s Portlandia, us Oregonians tend to cringe at the idea of putting birds on anything. However, the phenomenon commonly known as the Chapman Swifts may be the only exception. Each evening in September, crowds of Portlanders gather on the lawn of Champan Elementary School (which embraces its aviary identity, boasting a swift as the school mascot). As the crowd settles in and the sun begins to set, the migrating birds begin their own gathering. Arriving from all directions, the swifts circle around the chimney of the school until sunset when they suddenly dive inside to where they will nest until continuing on their journey to Central America. Due to deforestation, more and more swifts have been substituting chimneys for tree hollows, and the Chapman School is the largest known gathering of swifts in the world.

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