[Tweeters] Vaux swifts in Port Angeles

judy mullally judyemull at yahoo.com
Mon Aug 11 07:09:23 PDT 2014

I wish I had the way with words of a Jeff Gibson. I often think of his posts as I encounter yet another Mountain Beaver tunnel  under my yard or watch the boldness of "my" Douglas squirrels and many other nature moments. Yesterday was one of those rare days when the sun was shining, the fog was absent, the winds calm and the temperature above 60 here on the bluffs above the Strait east of PA.

For weeks I've been listening with trepidation as the number and intensity of squeaks from my chimney guests seemed to diminish. I had had to rescue one  adult Vaux swift from my fire box a week ago, hopeful that it hadn't been there too long or inhaled too much residual ash and that it's young weren't compromised by reduced feeding.

Then glorious afternoon  self-indulgence on the back deck brought a special treat as the skies filled with 15 to 20 Vaux swifts circling, chittering and just generally putting on a spectacular show for over half an hour.
In previous years I'd seen sudden appearance of a small group about the time the young from my chimney were about to fledge, and I've often wondered if there were some social imperative where adults from "around" came by to encourage those about to fledge and to aid in tutoring flight skills. I'd always assumed I only had one nest per season. Now I'm wondering whether there were more nests than I thought possible. Based on the sound level it hadn't seemed likely, but this sudden simultaneous appearance of so many in such a close, choreographed event brings questions to my mind.

Does anyone have any info on whether there are social gathering around fledging activity or whether I'm a better hostess than I thought?

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