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Summary

Swifts live almost entirely in the air. They eat, drink, sleep, mate and gather their nesting materials on the wing, fly thousands of miles across the world, navigating their way around storms, never lighting on tree, cliff or ground, until they return home with the summer.

Sarah Gibson has written a fascinating story of discovery, exploring what is known about these mysterious birds, their ancient ancestry and how they have been regarded through history. But the swifts are in real danger: often unintentionally, we are sealing our homes against wildlife of any kind. Cracks, gaps and crevices which for thousands of years have offered nesting space in buildings, are being closed off, while new housing rarely offers entry holes for nesting birds. Loss of breeding places is considered to be a significant factor in the steep decline of these birds over the last 20 years.

Thankfully, there are people in the UK and across Europe striving to ensure a future for swifts. Their actions and stories are woven into the narrative, demonstrating how change is brought about by passionate, determined individuals, whose actions show that everyone can do something to keep these superb birds screaming through our skies.

©2020 Sarah Gibson (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"The moving tale of this ancient, mysterious bird." (RSPB’s Nature’s Home

"lf you love swifts, this is the book for you. It's full of facts not likely to be found elsewhere." (John Miles, Birdwatching magazine)

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The magic of the Swift

As a birder for many years, ask anyone that knows me will know that our humble summer visiting Common Swift is in my top five British Birds and when they leave it’s always tinged with sadness, seeing the first of the year I always exclaim “I have survived another year to see them” to whoever I am with.

This book is very well researched by the author who’s obsession with Swifts comes through coupled with extensive knowledge, from fledging right through to care for sick or injured birds.

The narrator grew on me and the book was read well and the excitement of the author seeing her first, Little Swift albeit briefly, left me gripped as I was not there looking.

Well done Sarah, some amazing Swift facts there and after over thirty years a birder did not know!

Maybe a follow up on Needletail’s next please!

Martyn Yapp

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  • Andreia The Butterfly Lover
  • 19-10-21

This book depressed me

1 star because the book is VERY DEPRESSING, focusing on the difficult lives of this marvelous BIRDS that are the Swifts! Due to:
* deforestation
* ignorant people who destroy the holes Swifts use for making nests
* disgusting people in Taiwan who eat Swifts nests with the birds inside!! (I cannot believe such people exist!! This is very f*cked up!! - How can people like this even exist??!!)
* old people who want a very clean and tidy lifestyle and do not admit that Birds live their lives in the city and simply destroy their nests!!
I am incredulous how you can possibly LOVE SWIFTS LIKE ME and like this HEARTBREAKING BOOK.
Unless you root for Humanity to destroy Wildlife you will NOT enjoy this reading!