Vaux’s Swift Roost Count

Portland Metro | Every Fall

Since 2009, Bird Alliance of Oregon has been counting migrating Vaux’s Swifts at Chapman Elementary School and at a number of other sites in the Portland-metro region to monitor population trends of these exciting birds.

In addition to tracking local numbers, these counts contribute toward a larger Pacific Coast-wide effort to track this bird species, which has had a declining population trend in the Northwest over the past several decades. This project provides an easy way to contribute to bird conservation without leaving the city!

Partners: Chapman Elementary School

Vaux's Swifts at Chapman Elementary School
Vaux's Swifts at Chapman Elementary School

About the Survey

  • Survey Instructions: Please read protocol for detailed instructions on how to conduct the survey.
  • When: Surveys are conducted most evenings (between 6 and 9 p.m.) from late August to early October.
  • Where: This survey is conducted at Chapman Elementary School and at other sites in the Portland Metro area that have chimney roosts of over 500 birds. Surveys are typically done by teams of 2 people. Nightly Swift counts are updated daily on our website.
  • Time commitment: Commit to at least 3 surveys per season.
  • Reporting: Completed data forms provided to project leaders at end of the survey.


Volunteer Requirements

  • Training: A 2-hr training is provided at Chapman Elementary prior to the start of surveys in late August.
  • Birding skills: No experience required but you must have good attention to detail and good concentration to count birds as they rapidly enter a chimney.
  • Equipment: At least one person per team should bring a pair of binoculars (Bird Alliance of Oregon can provide binoculars if necessary).
  • Field conditions: Must be OK sitting or standing in one place for over an hour and also interact with the public
  • Transportation to and from the site is your responsibility



If you have questions contact Joe Liebezeit at or Candace Larson at