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Could Vaux's swifts migratory birds be next on endangered species list?

Vaux's swifts are considered an indicator species for the health of old growth forests, where they naturally roost. The dark-brown birds have nearly white throats and chests, and named for the 19th century scientist, William S. Vaux (pronounced vawks). Because of their foot structure, they can't perch. They spend daylight hours in flight, consuming insects. At night, they cling inside snags or chimneys that protect them from hawks, owls and other predators.

Some biologists fear they are in decline, says Mary Coolidge, assistant conservation director at the Portland Audubon Society. "But historical data have been too scant to say for sure."  A group of volunteer bird counters are trying to fix that.

200 volunteers from Canada to Mexico gather information for an Audubon Society project started in 2008. Data is compiled at www.vauxhappening.org. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Progressive Animal Welfare Society, the Monroe School District and Washington Tweeters, a birding online list, contribute to the project.

Click here to read more about the project on The Oregonian website.

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