Re: High-flying Swifts

To: Gil Langfield <>
Subject: Re: High-flying Swifts
From: Stephen Ambrose <>
Date: Thu, 13 Mar 1997 15:39:32 +1000
Gil Langfield wrote:
> While walking yesterday at Toolangi Forest Reserve, just north-east of
> Melbourne, Australia, I was on the look-out for White-throated Needletails
> because I do not see them often but have seen them there before.
> I scoured the skies with the naked eye on occasions where the forest was
> more open and saw none.  However, when I looked through my 10 x 50
> binoculars at a shape on the top of a high, dead tree, behind and very high
> in the sky were hundreds of swifts, so high that I had great difficulty
> discerning which of the two species they were. With a lot of imagination,
> some of them seemed to have white under the rump and so they were probably
> all Needletails.
> I have two questions for the group:
> 1.  How high were these swifts, and how many are sucked into the engines of
> the jets on their long approach over Toolangi to Melbourne Aiport?
> 2.  Are there swifts everywhere that we do not see until we look up with
> binoculars?
> Regards,
> Gil Langfield
> Melbourne, Australia


You might like to contact Will Steele at the RAOU regarding the interactions 
planes and swifts at Melbourne Airport. He is presently our project officer who 
monitoring bird populations at the airport and assessing the risks of birds 
with aircraft. I know that he is out at the airport today, but should be in the 

Will's e-mail address is:  W.Steele <>.

Dr Stephen Ambrose
RAOU Research and Conservation Manager.

Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union.
Australian Bird Research Centre,
415 Riversdale Road,
Hawthorn East,
VIC   3123.

Tel:    (03) 9882 2622.
Fax:    (03) 9882 2677.
Email:  S.Ambrose <>

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