Sunday, July 22, 2012

The launch

A perfect evening on Newmarket heath, just enough breeze to launch the Swifts into the air. The technique is to let them sit on your hand until they feel ready to fly. You NEVER throw them into the air, the decision to take off must be theirs alone.
The first one took off after a while and soared into the sky where it was immediately joined by another Swift which "came out of nowhere".
The second took a little longer to go, and in fact I handed it over to my colleague Bill, mainly because my arm was getting tired! When it did go, it quickly joined the first one.

The third and final one was very very slow, taking a long time to make its mind up. After all, once it takes off, it will probably remain airborne for at least ten months if not more. But it did go in the end, by which time there were no other Swifts in the sky. But eventually we saw it, almost out of sight now it was so distant, meet up with other Swifts.

And so, the three nestlings that might have died in the nest are now free-flying and, we like to think, happy to be alive. I can't tell you how good we all felt - Judith, Linda (Judith's friend), Bill and I - about the moment when all three had flown.

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