Thursday, 16 August 2012

Flick Me A Swift!

In June, whilst out checking on a few nests around the local cemetery, we noticed some Swifts flying particularly low amongst the gravestones. We decided to take the opportunity to try some flick netting so jumping in the car we whizzed back to the house, picked up the gear and hurried back before the Swifts started flying high again.

This was my first time flick netting and it was great to learn a new technique of catching birds. We soon had our first bird, a stunning male Swift – my first!

As I was handed my very first Swift I was warned of their claws, thinking ‘ach it’ll be fine’ I ignored this warning, bad idea! These little high flying wonders have such extremely sharp claws it’s unreal and very painful! Lesson learned I think! 

Unfortunately a downside of ringing these beautiful birds are the not so beautiful ‘passengers’ they carry with them. The biggest flat flies I have seen and they were so fond of me that I even ended up bringing some home, unknowingly to me!

By the end of the session we had a good wee catch and in doing so I learned how to age and sex the species. A stunning bird that I never dreamed of being able to get close to let alone ring – opportunist ringing at it’s very best!


  1. This is magical! I love Swifts and their high pitches cries over the skies above us. I did not know they had flies on them, I have encountered lice on some birds. Amazing to hold one. Wonderful pics. Minerva x