Date: 7/30/20 10:21 am
From: Juliet Berger <juliet.berger...>
Subject: Re: [birders] Essay on Swifts and an OT connection
As you suspected, swifts always go to roost at night, on a vertical
surface, such as a chimney interior, an old hollow tree, or a wall of a
building, if hit by a sudden storm. They don't fly non-stop their whole
life, but, they definitely can't perch.
We know they all gather together for warmth to roost on late summer and
early autumn nights, and stage for migration in these roosts. I can't wait
to read the essay as well as the NYT John Lewis piece.
Best,
Juliet Berger

On Thu, Jul 30, 2020 at 12:17 PM Linda Berauer <lberauer...> wrote:

> 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.
>
> Worth reading!
>
> LB
>
> On Thu, Jul 30, 2020, 11:57 AM John Farmer <ajf-jlf...> wrote:
>
>> A lyrical essay on Swifts in today's NYT (here
>> <https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/29/magazine/vesper-flights.html?campaign_id=9&emc=edit_nn_20200730&instance_id=20794&nl=the-morning&regi_id=73744212&segment_id=34737&te=1&user_id=d635218edb5785eb5289c336dd5362a7>)
>> 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
>> statement?
>>
>>
>>
>> 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.
>>
>>
>>
>> JF
>>
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