Mark your calendars for Saturday, September 14, so you don’t miss the return of the Vaux’s (pronounced “voxes”) Swifts to the Wagner Center chimney in Monroe as they migrate south for the winter. Celebrate the arrival of one of the largest congregations of Vaux’s Swifts in North America while watching thousands of these small birds squeezing themselves into a 31-foot tall, 4-foot square chimney in just minutes. As many as 26,000 Vaux’s Swifts have been observed entering this chimney in one evening (September 7, 2010). We are hoping for a large turnout of swifts on September 14.
The event runs from 5:00 p.m until dusk. There will be booths with informative displays and nature-related items. One booth allows children and adults to touch actual bird “skins” and to compare the sizes of different species of birds. There will be activities for children plus a spaghetti dinner booth with dessert. And you won’t want to miss Larry Schwitters’ lecture on Vaux’s Swifts at 6:30 p.m.
Docents will be present to answer questions from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. If you are an experienced birder and would like to docent at this event, please contact Susie Schaefer at 425-771-8165.
So, bring your family and friends, a blanket, a folding chair or just sit on the lawn, and watch the swifts’ aerial performances. You will be glad you did! You will leave feeling privileged to have witnessed one of nature’s amazing spectacles!
This past year, the students in two elementary schools in Monroe School District, Frank Wagner and Fryelands Elementary, learned about the Vaux’s swifts, their habitat and the unique role Frank Wagner’s chimney plays in providing an important roosting site. Teachers were paid to develop curriculum on the swifts that we are sharing through vauxshappening.org.
In addition, for the second year, Frank Wagner and now Fryelands have an after-school swift club. The club provides art activities, journaling and science projects related to what they have learned about the swifts. Teaching staff to support these clubs were supported by a National Audubon Together Green grant.
It is just so exciting to see the kid’s interest and enthusiasm about the swifts!
It is April and that means the Vaux’s Swifts are migrating north and will arrive mid-to-late April at the Frank Wagner Center (formerly Frank Wagner Elementary School) chimney in Monroe, Washington to roost while on their northbound journey to the forests to begin their spring nesting cycle.
The City of Monroe is very fortunate to have these wonderful little migrants visit their area every year and to have them come to this very accessible site in downtown Monroe. One can just park the car on the street and walk across the lawn to view the swifts and the chimney. No long or arduous hikes are necessary here.
Visitors from around the world and from local communities come to witness the aerial acrobatics of these little birds as they enter the chimney each night over a 10-week period in the spring and again in the fall.
We are gearing up for a month of swift action at Frank Wagner Center in Monroe, and need some more volunteers to help by being Docents and/or Counters.
We need help for Swifts Night Out on Saturday, September 15,th and for the month of September (and maybe October too). Docents are there to answer questions of passerbys (sometimes there are many); counters actually count the number of swifts going into the chimney. Docents do NOT need to be experienced – we can share some fun and interesting facts that are sure to answer the questions most folks have.
Even coming by to serve as docent or counter for an evening would help out.
If you are interested, there is going to be a short training session for new docents this Wednesday, 8/29 at 6:30pm, at the Frank Wagner Center.
We hope you will be able to participate in this training and help with our Monroe Swifts Program. First of all, it is really fun and these little birds are so interesting. Being a docent is not a big commitment, especially if we have a good number of volunteers. Please plan to come to the training and get involved with this important program!