• Wildlife Friendly Otley

SWIFTS


When it comes to flight, the Swift makes a lot of birds look like chickens. Not only does it fly thousands of miles to spend a few months in Otley, and over 3 million miles in its lifetime, but it sleeps on the wing too. They only land for breeding, so having fledged, a young Swift may well spend the next 2 to 3 years in the air. As I write, a group of Swifts hunts noisily for insects high in the blue sky - a "screaming party" this is called. In a normal year, Otley Swift Watch would be meticulously touring the town's older buildings, checking nesting sites up in the eaves and hoping to see a reversal in the national downward trend in Swift numbers. Further afield, a suburban street in north Leeds is a veritable Swift stronghold thanks to the work of one man - check out the link below. The second link takes you to the work of Leeds artist Janis Goodman, who expertly captures the flight of this amazing bird in works such as "Happy Returns".

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Masthead photography courtesy of Mark Denton

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