The Portland Chimney Swifts

I recently got a really great commission and I wanted to share it with you. 

Portland hosts North Americas largest concentration of Vaux’s Swifts. Every September the birds nest in the chimney at Chapman Elementary School.  Vaux Swifts normally nest in hollowed out snags of old growth trees, but we have lost a lot of our old growth trees, and the largest population now nests in this chimney here in Portland.  In the 80’s when the birds began nesting in the chimney the school stopped using it’s heating system during the weeks of roosting.  Students and teachers wore sweaters and jackets until the end of September.  In 2003 the Audubon Society donated a new heating system to the school. Now the chimney is maintained sorely for the Swifts.  

You can imagine my excitement when I was approached to illustrate this beautiful scene.  The Swifts are a beloved Portland event, hundreds of folks gather every night in September to watch the show.  Enjoy - Anisa