Date: 7/31/20 9:11 am
From: Leonard Sander <lsander...>
Subject: Re: [birders] Essay on Swifts and an OT connection
It may be not a myth that common swifts (the European species, *Apus apus*)
remain aloft for months:
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-03/lu-sab030619.php

Note that our chimney swift is not the same species. I have no idea how
widespread the behavior described by the researchers at Lund University is.

Len


Len Sander
Emeritus Professor of Physics & Complex Systems
University of Michigan
www.umich.edu/~lsander


On Thu, Jul 30, 2020 at 6:43 PM Lisa Lava-Kellar <lisalk...> wrote:

> 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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