The festival is all about the birds and watching their tornado-like return to their roost at dusk. An official census of the birds coming in to roost is done by Travis Audubon but festival-goers can try to do their own count. When the last bird drops into the cistern, the official festival count is registered and announced.

Friends of Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge hosts The Swift Drop, a contest for festival attendees to try and guess how many birds drop into the cistern that evening. Donated prizes are awarded to the top participants with the closest guesses, and can be picked up that evening at the Friends booth.swift sketch

See a video of the swift drop HERE!

Here are official census counts from past years:

Year Official Bird Count
2016 96
2015 368
2014  440
2013 13
2012 926
2011 14
2010 1,555
2009 1,235
2008 1,965
2007 1,750
2006 1,990
2005 2,060
2004 1,885
2003 2,400