Vaux's Swifts at Rio Lindo
Photo of the Vaux's Swifts roosting in the boiler chimney.
Vaux's Swifts have been roosting in the Rio Lindo Adventist Academy chimney since 1989, the first year the boiler wasn't producing steam year round. The chimney is still used in the winter when the boiler generates heat for the school campus, but that is after the fall migration. The first small groups of migrating birds usually appear in mid-August. The numbers increase and generally peak between September 10 and 20. In an average year we'll see the count peak between 5,000 and 10,000 birds for a few evenings. The highest numbers that have been observed were in 2008 when a couple evenings the estimate was near 20,000 birds. The lowest was in 2005 when the highest count was only 300.
Videos can be seen here
from KQED's California Report.
We are glad to welcome visitors to our campus to see this amazing natural phenomena. We only ask that you remember this is a boarding high school campus with students present 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Remember that means no smoking or alcohol is allowed on the campus. Also, please stay in the area of the chimney and do not roam the campus.
Keep in mind that we do not know exactly when they will arrive for the evening or when they will begin to enter the chimney. Generally the best time to arrive on the campus is 30 minutes before sundown. We have observed that the time they begin to enter the chimney is sensitive to the air temperature (the colder it is the earlier they enter the chimney), sundown, and the number of birds here entering the chimney (the higher the number the earlier they begin to enter).
||Time entering chimney
||Number of swifts