Swiftly Arose: July 16, 2009

Recently returned home from Peru, I suddenly became aware of a little more bird activity than usual this afternoon. Far beyond the resident Blue-and-White Swallows that were circling just overhead as I stood outside, a large flock of White-Collared Swifts were diving majestically through the sky. Supposedly, there's a colony of swifts that lives up on Volcán Pichincha that comes down to the valley where I live twice a year to feed on newly hatched insects. For several days, they swoop about powerfully on their stiff and pointed wings, chippering and screeching with what surely must be delight. Although you can find this bird almost anywhere in Ecuador, and at any altitude, the speed and agility with which they fly should give every birder pause, especially from his own backyard.

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