Swifts winging their way back

MONROE — Thousands of Vaux’s swifts will be migrating north soon and will roost at the former Frank Wagner Elementary School chimney this spring.

The birds come to Monroe in the spring and fall, giving local folks a close-up look at a massive migration of birds at one location.

For years, the Monroe Swift Watch and Monroe Swift Night Out committees have enlisted volunteers to monitor the numbers of Vaux’s swifts that enter the chimney each night, and help at Monroe Swift Night Out on Sept. 14.

This year, volunteers are needed to count the swifts as they enter the chimney, to monitor the daytime comings and goings of the avian visitors, and to help answer questions at the Swift Night Out.

Volunteers are also sought to help with the Monroe Swifts website and, possibly, cameras and temperature monitors at the chimney.

Vaux’s swifts are the smallest species of swifts in North America and are native to the Pacific Northwest. The birds prefer hollow trees, but are attracted to chimneys because the bricks allow the swifts a place to perch.

A planning meeting for the swifts’ annual visit is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Goddard Room at Valley General Hospital, Monroe, 14701 179th Ave. S.E.

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