Black swifts in Ouray

 and Box Canyon Park in Ouray is once again hosting them

black swift

Photo by Sue Hirschman

Black Swifts are back in Ouray. One of guests asked us last night about the bats but was happy to hear that the black shapes high in the sky at dusk were our very own colony of Black Swifts.  For those of you not familiar with these strange birds, the swifts have been called the most peculiar bird because of its strange nesting practices and reclusive nature.  They do not perch on branches. Instead they cling to vertical surfaces and nest very close to waterfalls. Normally this makes them very difficult to observe. But, here in Ouray, a five minute walk from the Victorian Inn to the Box Canyon Park puts you at eye level with the Colorado’s largest black swift colony as they nest on the walls opposite the path to the bottom of the Box canyon falls during the summer months generally from mid-May to mid-September.

They are still getting used to being back, we think, because they are just flying around. They have not yet settled down for the season so they are even more difficult to see. They become much more visible when they start nesting on the cliff walls. But for now, they just seem happy to be here after their long trek back north. These birds are so rare and so elusive that it was just a couple of years ago that bird researchers actually discovered where they went in winter. It turns out that they overwinter in the rainforests of Brazil. It took 165 years to find this out. Who knew?

Our very own Box Canyon, just 2 blocks from the Victorian Inn, has been named an important bird area by the National Audubon Society and the population is a protected species. Come up and see if you can spot one of these really cool birds.  Call us at 970 325 7222 or reserve your room on line.

See you soon.


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