Bird of the Month August: Swifts
or August my bird of the month post is a tribute, a fond farewell, to the swifts. A goodbye for another year.
They began their exodus from our skies in the middle of July. By the middle of this month they were all gone – in fact most of them will be over central Africa already. They only fill the skies above our heads for a few short months but my goodness I love it when they are here.
Some words about swifts:
blade, scythe, slice, sleek, agile, athletes, silhouette, spiral, careering, screaming, arrow, boomerang, high-speed, dusk, joyriders, passion, drama
A fledgling might not touch the ground again for another 2 – 3 years until they stop to make a nest of their own. Everything else is done in the sky – sleeping, feeding, mating. One individual may fly more than a million kilometres in its lifetime, crossing the airspace of 25 countries. They are one of the oldest forms of birds. Their group split from other bird types around the extinction of the T Rex.
When we lived at Teapot Street we loved having our tea in the garden as the swifts screamed madly round the rooftops, again and again, as if practicing a race circuit. It is the thing we miss most about living there.
The UK population fell 51% between 1995 and 2015. Find out more about how to help swifts here.