There’s a swift in my kitchen

It was one of those days at work, the one where you come home and let it all out in a big ‘rant’ and feel a lot better for it. We all have them. For us the location is usually the kitchen as I rant and raid the cupboards for cheer me ups, and Lee stands listening patiently. This time we had ‘talked’ and I had raided, when I noticed a cardboard box sat on the work top. Lee having made no mention of it to this point, I casually lifted the lid curious to see what was inside. Peeking in, I turn and say ‘what is a swift doing in my kitchen?’

A little weak, our swift when we picked him up

In the box clinging to kitchen paper is a small, dark brown bird with beautiful long wings. A swift. Their sound to me typifies the British summer as they scream through blue skies, dipping and diving, twisting and turning. The ultimate high flier, on leaving the nest the swift spends the rest of its life on the wing. It returns only to ‘land’ in order to breed, everything else, eating, sleeping, mating, drinking, preening is done whilst it soars across the skies.

So what was one of these beautiful birds doing in a box in my kitchen? Occasionally as with any species, swifts get themselves into a bit of a pickle and need our help. In this case, this bird had been found in a kitchen sink having possibly been trapped for a couple days. The finders had taken it to the BTO and Lee had brought it home. Week from lack of food and dehydration, we were not sure it would survive the night let alone have the strength to fly. While we were able to give the bird water finding airborne insects proved a little trickier.

The next morning and there was a lot more movement coming from the box and our friend seemed a little more lively. There was only one way to find out whether it was ready to fly.

Out in the open space of the park, with swifts reeling overhead, careening around the houses, came the moment of truth. With a gentle push the bird was airborne. For a heartbeat it hung there, with the two of us ready below to catch it should it fall back to earth…. One, two flaps of those wings and it seemed to gain strength. Rising up like a feathered angel, wing beats getting stronger and stronger our little swift rose up in circles into the blue sky. Suddenly a flash mob of six or seven swifts joined in, and the group soared away over trees and houses….

Wild and free, a swift soars across the summer skies

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