Poetry – Two Swifts Shrieking

Two Swifts Shrieking

Two swifts wheeling in the sky

Shrieking with delight –

Not missing their brethren?

In days not long gone

Those same skies

Were full of flocks of screaming swifts.

The air, now a desert,

Teemed with insects

That were scooped with such glee.

There was enough

For many swifts

To gorge themselves and feed their chicks.

Now those insects

Are hard to find

And the future is looking dim.

Do they now shriek with delight or horror?

Opher 23.6.2018

It is so noticeable to me that the skies are emptying. We were so used to seeing the swifts, swallows and house martins, the filter feeders of the skies, putting on their aerial displays.

Where once there were flocks now they appear in pairs. The flocks have gone.

The skies that once buzzed with insects are empty. The insects have gone. There is no food.

The barns and house eaves that provided nesting sites are all knocked down, cleaned up and gone.

It is hard to believe the changes that have taken place in the space of one lifetime.

Were those two swifts really shrieking with delight! I feel they cry in desperation.

4 thoughts on “Poetry – Two Swifts Shrieking

  1. Come on Opher, you can’t get away with this “where have all the birds gone?” crapola.

    Around my local lake, this year the geese and ducks are breeding like never before. I’ve never before seen anything like it! I found one family with 11 ducklings – a whole cricket team! And this breeding season is long-lasting. Today, I saw that another pair of Canada and white goose crosses have produced another 3 goslings. I’ve put the camera on charge, and plan to take it down there tomorrow.

    The tit on my windowsill (you’re right, he was jumping for insects) has been there at 5am or so for several weeks now. But I haven’t seen him for the last few days; maybe his chicks are already raised, and they’re off to pastures new.

    As to insects, about two hours ago I had to deal with the biggest wasp I have ever seen! Maybe it was a hornet? Whichever, I got rid of it – in self-defence. There are flies everywhere, too; I don’t bother about them. More than in any previous summer in the 35 years I’ve lived here.

    The tree seeds, I will admit, aren’t as many as in the last two years. But those years were exceptional. What I see is, nature is doing well. And if there is any global warming caused by humans, it’s a good thing for nature, not a bad one!

      1. I keep wishing I’d taken the camera. I lugged it round yesterday only to discover I’d forgotten to put the card back in!!

    1. There are certainly a number of species doing very well Neil – ducks, pigeons, crows – the ones who can live with us. But insects and other birds – such as swifts and swallows, are having a hard time. We’ve destroyed too much habitat and are spraying too much pesticide!
      I’m off to Devon soon! It’s great for insects there! As it is dairy and not arable they don’t spray!

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