The Swift

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There is, perhaps, no bird more conspicuous when it comes to its migratory habits than the swift - whereas the other migratory birds seem to straggle, as such, into the country, the Swifts arrive almost simultaneously, so that on one day not a single Swift will be seen, and on the next the air is full of their dark, glancing forms.
Like the swallow, the Swift haunts the neighbourhood of man, and loves to build its simple nest in the roofs of houses. Almost any hole will do for a Swift to build in, provided that it be reasonably deep, as the bird loves darkness for its nest, though it is essentially, in its habits, a bird of flight.
Perhaps the word 'build' is scarcely the right one, considering that the nest is even more simple than that of the sand-martin. This latter bird does indeed arrange with some regularity the feathers which compose its nest, whereas the Swift merely places together a quantity of hay, straw, hair, feathers, and similar material, all of which are probably obtained from the ruins of a sparrow's nest which had occupied the hole before the swift took possession of it.

The shrill cries and perpetual chattering of the Swift, betray its presence while it is sailing in the air almost beyond the perception of human eyes. There is a wailing, melancholy sound about the bird's cry.

There are numerous species of Swift.  Some, like the Common Swift, even sleep and mate during flight.  The Alpine Swift, a bird which is rare in England, though it occasionally visits UK shores, is much larger than the common Swift, and is brown above and white below, instead of being dusky black, like the common species.

The most characteristic species is, however, the Galilean Swift. Of this kind, the 19th century scholar,  HB Tristram, who travelled much in Palestine, remarks that it is 'very like the house-martin in general appearance and size.  It resides all the year in the Jordan valley, where alone it is found, living in large communities, and has a pleasing note, a gentle and melodious wail, very different from the harsh scream of the other swifts. Its nests are very peculiar, being composed generally of straw and feathers, agglutinated together by the bird's saliva, like those of the edible swallow of Eastern Asia. They are without any lining, attached to the under side of an overhanging rock. It also sometimes takes possession of the nest of the rufous swallow for its purposes. The Galilean swift has a wide range, being found in India and Abyssinia.'
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