I love Swifts. Swifts and Swallows are the product of convergent evolution and aren’t closely related to one another. The closest relatives of Swifts are the Hummingbirds of the Americas.
Their scientific name is Apus apus. Apus is from ‘a-‘ for ‘without’ and ‘-pus’ like ‘pod’ or ‘ped’ which means foot. Swifts are therefore called ‘no-feet no-feet’ by scientists.
Just to be clear, they do have feet. Here’s one of my favourite photographs:
Colour it orange and it would look like a fancy goldfish.
They’re busy screaming to one another and catching flies. One comes very close and lands in the eaves of a stone warehouse next to me. Its wings beat stiffly like those of a trapped butterfly before it drops and free-dives and takes flight again. I wonder if it was looking for a nesting location. They would usually have nested in holes in ancient trees. By destroying almost all the ancient forest in Britain we’ve destroyed the lives and way of life of countless species.
They look like white-chinned anchors.
I must come back. They are a dizzying thrill.