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|Date: 7/30/20 9:17 am
From: Linda Berauer <lberauer...>
Subject: Re: [birders] Essay on Swifts and an OT connection
|It's a beautiful essay, I read it last night as a friend sent it to me. The
Swift's are mysterious creatures! She referenced some studies, but I
couldn't tell where science ended and poetry began.
I didn't connect the ending to John Lewis, but she drew a poignant analogy
between Swift behavior in the sky and the wisdom of communal/shared
decision-making among humans on the ground.
On Thu, Jul 30, 2020, 11:57 AM John Farmer <ajf-jlf...> wrote:
> A lyrical essay on Swifts in today's NYT (here
> by Helen Macdonald, the author of *H is for Hawk,* may interest some
> birders. It set me to wondering if I may be the only person on this
> listserve who had not heard of the swifts' "vesper flight" that she details.
> I also question her statement that "…As soon as they tip themselves free
> of the nest hole, they start flying, and they will not stop flying for two
> or three years, bathing in rain, feeding on airborne insects, winnowing
> fast and low to scoop fat mouthfuls of water from lakes and rivers."
> Despite the fact that she provides references to many aspects of the vesper
> flights of Europe's Common Swifts, that sentence seems to spring from the
> common folklore that portrayed swifts as spending their entire lives on the
> wing. Does anyone know if there is any research to back up that quoted
> And here I'm definitely going OT, but IMHO, the final paragraph in
> Macdonald's essay is a haunting, if unintended, link to another piece in
> today's NYT - the poignant swan song of the late Congressman John Lewis.
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