A cloudless evening and the shrill cries of a small group of European swifts on an evening hunt for insects.
A summer concert told in sharp notes.
The swift has a wide range and enough numbers to be merit a population status of Least Concern from the IUCN. Considering the slow but persistent declines in common birds such as house sparrows due to habitat loss, it’s good to see a familiar bird adapting to changing circumstances.
The old farms in our French village all have ledges placed between the beams of barns for to support nesting birds (and to keep the floor beneath somewhat cleaner), a nice old habit that made space for wildlife in a way that modern garages and houses don’t.
Our own garage is still open and has old beams, home to several swift nests every year. Seeing them whisk in and out of the buildings at breakneck speeds is a thrill that never gets old.
I found this interesting clip on the extreme lifestyle of the European swift – it can stay aloft for up to ten months of the year, and naps while gliding. Swifts might be common, but they are very special.