Black Swifts

SwiftSMALLThe Box Cañon is recognized by the National Audubon Society as a birding hot-spot. Home to a significant colony of Black Swifts, the Box Cañon is frequented by ornithologists, bird enthusiasts, and nature lovers. Many birders come to the Box Cañon Falls to observe the Black Swifts and add this species to their ‘life lists’.

Black Swifts (cypseloides niger) are the largest of the swifts that migrate to North America. The Black Swift colony typically arrives at the Box Cañon Falls in early June. Nests are rebuilt of mud and grass and the female bird typically lays only one egg during the breeding season. The chicks are hatched after 24-25 days. Parents both care for the young birds.

Once the bird is old enough take flight they leave the nest for autumn migration to the rainforest in Brazil, a distance of more than 4,300 miles! This usually takes place in early September, about the time of the first frost. The chick develops strength by hanging on the edge of the nest and flapping its wings like a hummingbird. This is the only exercise they have before migration to the southern hemisphere.

The Box Cañon Falls has been the location of important research on the Black Swifts. Black Swifts are protected under the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.

Whether actively seeking a specific bird species, or simply sitting in the beautiful scenery, listening to bird songs, watching the birds and chipmunks, the natural amenities of the Box Cañon Park are always enjoyable.