You have most probably heard them rather than seen them. They are called the Swift and they spend all their lives in the air.
The Swift’s Latin name is Apus Apus, which means without feet. This is because their feet are so crippled that they can barely use them. They are the ultimate bird as they barely spend any time on land or sea.
They spend all their lives in the air and only come down to breed.
They fly all the way from sub-Saharan Africa and nest in either cliff ledges and caves or the eaves of roofs.
You can tell they are Swifts by how they scream as they fly. They are also known as Devil Bird because of this. Swifts make nest from their saliva. This saliva is harvested in countries like Indonesia. The industry is so huge that there are giant warehouses which house the swifts. The nests are sold for their weight in gold. They are eaten as a dessert or drunk for medicine.
You too can make a kite and fly like a swift!
Or you could get a map out to see where they come from. See how many countries Swift must fly across to get here? Can you name them?
Here are three cool swift facts:
- They fly sleeping – half of their brain is asleep when they fly!
- They eat flying – they catch insects! This is why places which have lots of insects are great for swifts. They are often found flying above trees! They don’t like flying too near the ground or they could get grounded
- If the swift is grounded it cannot fly! To save it you must pick it up and throw it into the air! Isn’t that amazing.
Things you can do for Swifts
- Make sure you leave your eaves unblocked if you have Swifts that visit. They are site faithful and return to the same place each year
- Plant a wildlife garden
- Write to your MLA/MP and ask them to make sure that they have a good policy to look after our heritage buildings and wildlife