[Tweeters] Radio transmitting swifts

Larry Schwitters leschwitters at me.com
Sat Sep 27 12:19:06 PDT 2014

Early Sept. 5th I helped Teresa Lorenz, Phil Fischer, and Kevin Lucas capture 19 Vaux's Swifts at Yakima's Johnson's Auto Glass Roost site. Teresa glued .5 g radio transmitters to the backs of six lucky individuals and all were safely released. Vaux's Happening had matching radio receivers in the hands of our Swift Seekers at the major roost sites down migration from Yakima. We had also engaged the amateur radio community as back ups.

None of these six swifts were ever detected in Yakima again, and the Oregon sites were being scanned every sunset, beginning the night of the capture. We finally got word from Roseburg that two of our tagged birds had been positively detected the evening of 9/11. Sadly the huge flocks that have been hanging around north of San Francisco got the heck scanned out of them but with no chirps. Now we're ready for them in Los Angeles but another detection or not, I've already got this project in the win column. Really proud of our Yakima capture team and all the Swift Seekers with tired arms from waving that antenna around for so many sunsets.

Our transmitter project raised interest and participation at the large roost sites enough so that Vaux's Happening should document more than a million roosting swifts this migration.

Assuming our two detected swifts went down the Columbia and then south on I-5 they averaged 55.7 miles per day.

Larry Schwitters

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