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The swifts that visit us at Frank Wagner Elementary School are called “Vaux’s Swifts” (pronounced “voxes” like “foxes”).
Vaux Swifts prefer to roost in hollow old trees but frequently use brick chimneys as a substitute. Vaux Swifts cannot perch because they have weak feet so they must clutch the rough surface of wherever they roost.

Interesting Behavior
Prior to entering the chimney, the swifts often gather in great numbers and circle the chimney. As they begin to enter the chimney, they change from their head-first direction and go in tail first. Once in the chimney, they overlap one another in “shingle” fashion to conserve body heat. They often slow their metabolism to a near-dormant state to conserve energy while roosting.

About the Vaux’s Swifts Migration
Each September thousands of migrating Vaux’s Swifts roost in Monroe School District’s Frank Wagner Elementary School chimney to rest while on their southern migration from north-western Canada and Washington State to Central America and Venezuela.