A swift research report

To: Laurie Knight <>
Subject: A swift research report
From: Michael Tarburton <>
Date: Sat, 22 Jun 2019 18:23:45 +1000

Non-scientific papers often get the facts mixed up or contorted.  This one does 
have some interesting summaries of recent research, but has two glaring errors.

Saying Swifts almost don’t need their feet is not true.  As nestlings they need 
them to hang onto their nest, and as adults they need them to hang onto their 
roost site, when they do land.  Having held many Common Swifts, and 12 
White-throated Needletails and had their toenails reach into the bones of my 
fingers, tells me their feet are not useless even though they might be small.  
The smaller Swiftlets roost in their caves every night and need their feet to 
hang onto the cave roof all night.

Saying "they don’t even land when building their nests” as also not true.  I 
have worked on Common Swifts at their nests and watched Alpine Swifts landing 
in Zurich - they all have to land to build their nests, to incubate their eggs 
(which take longer to hatch than most birds their size) and feed their 

Have fun with the facts


> On 22 Jun 2019, at 8:02 AM, Laurie Knight <> wrote:
> Not sure if everything is correct but an interesting read about life on the 
> wing

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