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Birdwatch: The Invincible Swift, Effortless Master of the Air

As the cold and breezy May Day dawns with sullen grey clouds promising rain, hope seems distant. However, amidst the gloom, a distant dark streak slices through the sky over the Avalon Marshes, embodying determination and purpose. It’s a single swift, marking the beginning of the season.

Guardians of the Skies

Swifts, often described as invincible, effortless masters of the air, embark on their migratory journey from Africa to Europe and back again. Their presence, once a reassuring sign of changing seasons, has dwindled over the years, mirroring the decline of many migrant bird species.

Champions for Conservation

In the face of this decline, there are human champions advocating for swift conservation. Among them is nature writer Hannah Bourne-Taylor, whose relentless campaign seeks to incorporate “swift bricks” into every new-build, providing nesting spaces for these remarkable birds. With efforts from Bourne-Taylor and others, there’s hope to reverse the fortunes of swifts and prevent their disappearance.

A Symphony in the Skies

As the day progresses and weather improves, the skies come alive with hordes of swifts swooping low to hunt for invisible insects. Their haunting, high-pitched screams earned them the moniker “devil birds,” yet their presence is a testament to nature‘s resilience and beauty. However, as the rain returns the next morning, the swifts vanish once again, leaving behind a reminder of their fleeting presence.

This yearning for the return of swifts echoes Ted Hughes’ words: “They’ve made it again, which means the globe’s still working…” As guardians of the skies, these birds serve as a symbol of hope amidst environmental challenges, inspiring conservation efforts to ensure their continued existence for generations to come.


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Saurabh is an impassioned environmental journalist dedicated to uncovering stories that shed light on pressing ecological issues. Through his writing, he aims to inspire action and promote greater awareness of our collective responsibility to safeguard the planet for future generations.