This post has nothing to do with o chem, but I think watching 5000+ small Vaux swifts swarm and then roost in the Chapman School chimney is one of the best FREE displays of urban wildlife you will ever see. Fortunately, the timing and location are perfect for Reed students. Head towards the Chapman Elementary school in NW Portland (#15 Bus will get you very close) on any night in early-mid September. Arrive about 30-60 minutes before sunset (7:00-7:30 arrival during Labor Day weekend) if you just want to see birds. Or, bring a picnic and a ball if you want to hang out in the park next to the school before the birds put on their show. The warm late-summer evenings are perfect for an outdoors off-campus adventure.
This event is not to be missed
Some helpful info for swift viewing:
Directions: The chimney is located at the west end (hilly side) of Chapman Elementary school. The school is located next to a park on NW 25th between NW Pettygrove & NW Raleigh. After you see the swifts, you can walk over to NW 23rd for dessert – many many establishments will be happy to serve you between 8-10 PM. Map
Best viewing: Get there about 20 minutes before sunset and watch the birds collect and feed. It takes awhile for all of them to go into the chimney so you'll be there after sunset (full moon tonite). Most people watch from the hillside on NW Pettygrove, but be kind to the neighbors.
Portland Audobon web info