Date: 7/30/20 3:43 pm
From: Lisa Lava-Kellar <lisalk...>
Subject: Re: [birders] Essay on Swifts and an OT connection
I'm grateful for your thoughts, though far less eloquent.
Thank you,
Lisa

On Thu, Jul 30, 2020 at 1:22 PM Juliet Berger <juliet.berger...>
wrote:

> 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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>>>
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>> .
>>
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> .
>

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