Vaux's Swifts near Sawyer
Fred Erickson who lives along the Yakima Valley Highway near Sawyer
(southeast of Yakima) reported to Denny at least 85 Vaux's Swifts swarming
around, then entering an abandoned chimney at his house at dusk last evening
(30 August). He phoned me this morning saying these birds all departed at
one time at about 8 am. I think we had all assumed this nightly roost only
occurred during the fall migration. Fred told Denny a smaller number have
been coming each night since "sometime in May." The presence of swifts here
all during the breeding season likely indicates nesting in this chimney. We
should check this next spring to confirm this. If breeding is noted here, it
will add to the rather meager breeding biology data base for this fairly
common species in Washington, and provide one of the few eastern Washington
breeding records in chimneys. Most Vaux's Swifts are assumed to breed in
tree cavities in large trees. Of course, the Vaux's Swift virtually
identical cousin, the Chmney Swift, commonly nests and roosts in chimneys.
Birds of Washington (Jewett et al. 1953) cite a number of chimney nesting
Vaux's Swifts and state "this swift is more and more adapting itself to
Breeding Birds of Washington (Smith et al. 1997) mention it nests in a
variety of situations, including chimneys. That source indicates nesting in
residental areas in western Washington. East of the Cascades, Walla Walla.
is mentioned as a nesting site.
Birds of British Columbia (Campbell et al. 1990) state 8 of 13 known nests
were situated in unused chimneys.