April 29, 2010

Swifts!

The swifts are here, the swifts are here! Screaming high over the city like scimitars, a week early, as I had thought and hoped they might, the warm weather and the insect-laden air too good to pass up.

They've flown all the way from the African savannah to spend the summer above our city streets. Extraordinary, isn't it. They are the last of the hirondines to arrive, and the first to leave - true harbingers of summer.

And they are the epitome of avian freedom. They do everything bar incubating eggs on the wing, and when the young they raise here fledge, in late August, they will take wing and not land again - never, not even for a moment - for two, or even three years.

Look for their black sickle shapes carving the blue above you on clear days, and listen for their screams. The world's still working, they say. We are here! We are here! We are here!
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