Swifts and Weather

Subject: Swifts and Weather
From: "Mike Tarburton" <>
Date: Sat, 26 Feb 2000 20:32:42 +1100
Greetings All

Bruce Cox Said

The weather conditions described are not what the bird guides lead you to expect when you see Swifts. They describe "humid, unsettled, thundery weather"---"warm, humid, rising air" to quote two.

A good observation Bruce, others have made it before, but many still believe as you have said that swifts are only ever seen in "rough" weather or during a change.  Where are they when there are no disturbances?  Exactly where you saw them flying in clear air.

I think there are two reasons why the misconception has arisen.  Firstly many people only ever or mostly look at the sky when there is some thunderstorm activity, and so at that time they notice swifts.  Obviously when they are not looking at the sky (cause there is no thunder to attract their attention) they do not see swifts.

When I and one or two others are driving looking for swifts we find them anywhere in all types of weather.  If you look for them you will find them, regardless of the weather.  You may have big gaps because they are not all over Australia all the time.  And do not expect too many between July and September, when most of them are in the Northern Hemisphere.

If you have access to HANZAB you can find more details about this there.

Happy swift watching


Dr Mike Tarburton
Pacific Adventist University
PMB  Boroko
Papua New Guinea

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