Portlanders are perfectly content with waiting in long lines for a lot of things (namely, brunch), and though we hate to bring up that infamous Portlandia line, this city does have a rather healthy obsession with all things aviary. So, it would make complete sense that during every night in September, you’d find a whole slew of people on the lawn of an elementary school, waiting patiently for birds to fly into a chimney. Yes, this really is a thing, and we love it.

Every year, Vaux’s Swifts stop in Portland on their big migration to Central America. Before they all fly in to roost (or sleep) in the big chimney, spectators can see thousands and thousands of little black birds flying overhead. To add a touch of drama, a hawk or two will occasionally swoop in and try to capture a swift for dinner (be prepared for the crowd to boo loudly at this).

Because the lawn fills up quickly every night, make sure to get there early and claim your patch of grass. Sit on a big blanket, bring picnic food and enjoy this beloved Portland activity. Even the skeptics will be clapping excitedly by the end with all the rest of the swifts enthusiasts.

Chapman Elementary School
1445 NW 26th Ave
Portland, OR 97210
Every night in September, an hour before sunset

Written by: Lauren Kodiak

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