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White-throated Swifts

This bird is one of the fastest of all birds!

A pair of White-throated Swifts twists and turns, sailing through the air. Dashing headlong across the canyon toward an unyielding wall, the birds disappear at the last second into a slender crevice. This swift is aptly named — and doubly so. The White-throated Swift is among the fastest of all birds. And its lyrical, scientific name suits it perfectly: Aeronautes saxatalis - sailor of the air who dwells in the rocks. You can learn more at PartnersInFlight.org.

Full Transcript

Transcript: 
BirdNote®
White-throated Swifts

Written by Bob Sundstrom
 
This is BirdNote!

[White-throated Swifts chattering in flight]

A torrent of shrill notes ricochets off the sheer stone walls of a Western canyon. [White-throated Swifts chattering in flight]

A pair of White-throated Swifts careens by at high speed, revealing boldly patterned bodies. They twist and turn, sailing through the air on black, scimitar-shaped wings spanning 15 inches. Dashing headlong across the canyon toward an unyielding wall, the birds disappear at the last second into a slender crevice. [White-throated Swifts chattering in flight]

This swift is aptly named — and doubly so. Flying at tremendous speed, the White-throated Swift is indeed swift, among the fastest of all birds. And its lyrical, scientific name suits it perfectly: Aeronautes saxatalis* — sailor of the air who dwells in the rocks. [White-throated Swifts chattering in flight]

Swifts leave the air only to nest or roost in a cavity. You’ll never see one perched. They do everything else while airborne. Ornithologist Percy Taverner said of them, “When mating, a pair meet…high in the air, cling together as though embracing for a moment …drop down hundreds of feet, then separate and catch themselves on their wings…” [White-throated Swifts chattering in flight]

The White-throated Swift is on the watchlist of many conservation organizations. To learn more, visit our website, BirdNote.org.

Today’s show is brought to you by the Lufkin Family Foundation.

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White-throated Swift sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York.  26485 and 26485-2 both recorded by R.S. Little.
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2015 Tune In to Nature.org      July 2017     Narrator: Mary McCann

ID# SotB-WTSW-01-2011-07-02    was  072606WTSWKPLU         

P.A. Taverner, 1922, unpublished notes cited p. 225 in: Robert A. Cannings, Richard J. Cannings, and Sydney G. Cannings. Birds of the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia. Victoria: Royal British Columbia Museum, 1987.

Related field notes:

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