This week’s photo, taken June 15, 2016 at Richmond Beach Park in Shoreline, WA, features a BLACK SWIFT, the largest swift in North America.
BLACK SWIFTS are uncommon migrants along the west coast. Although this is the time of year they pass through our area, and even though they are bigger than other North American swifts, they can be difficult to spot because they often fly high, and – true to their name – they fly mighty fast. Watching Black Swifts zoom through the sky is a thrilling experience for any birder, but you better not blink or else you might miss them altogether.
Black Swifts are mysterious birds in many respects. They often nest behind waterfalls in British Columbia, Canada, as well as here in Washington state. Since those nests are usually inaccessible to humans, not much is known about their nesting habits. Black Swifts probably winter in South America, but little is known about their wintering habits, also. They spend most of their life in the air. They sleep in the air, and they even mate in mid-air. Sorry, I have no photos of that event.
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