Swifts – Protected Indigenous Birds

Nesting in the cracks of the city walls

The sky above Dubrovnik’s Old City is reminiscent of the world’s busiest airports. Hundreds of swifts fly over the roofs from all directions with their familiar twitter. They dart about, rotate, twist, glide and sometimes excitedly chase each other shrieking loudly. The crescendo of their noisy twitter is at times louder than the voices in the Stradun. The people of Dubrovnik are used to that, but the tourists are often surprised and impressed by their loud screams and huge numbers.

The Alpine Swift is the most commonly found summer bird in Dubrovnik, and its numbers on the coast are never as great as within the Old City. It is more resistant to weather conditions than its relative the Common Swift is, so it comes to our region earlier and leaves later. It arrives in April, nests in early May, and lays eggs in late May and the eggs hatch in early June. It nests in the cracks of cliffs, holes in the city walls, on the facades of houses and under roofs. Baby birds remain in the nests till they become capable of flying, which happens late in July and early in August. At that time, huge flocks of both adult and young birds leave their nests every morning and fly very far in search of food. Returning together before sunset, swifts create the City’s background music with their loud twitter. The swifts from the Old City sometimes migrate to the south only in late October.

Swift’s superpowers – sleeping in the air and weather forecasting

The Common Swift is an excellent flyer, and its body is exceptionally well adapted to living in the air. Staying in the air longer than any other bird, it flies faster, and more vigorously and dynamically than swallows, usually in huge and noisy flocks. Some swifts even spend the night flying and sleeping in the air. The Common Swift is useful for killing mosquitoes and flies.

The bird is also a sort of meteorologist – when flying low it announces a change of weather and rain, because when it is cold or damp flies and mosquitoes fly lower. However, although their huge noisy flocks at times resemble scenes from Hitchcock’s The Birds, swifts are the City’s favourite seasonal residents. They are a part of the City’s life cycle. Returning here when the winter is over, they herald a new season, and we are all in a better mood – explain the Old City residents. Without them, the City would be empty, and incomplete without its natural background music. Worth mentioning is that the swift is faithful to its homeland and it always returns to the same place it was hatched.

If you decide to join me on my walking tours inside the Old Town, we will surely have the pleasure of seeing the flight of these maginificent birds over our heads.

swifts

Swifts – Protected indigenous birds

Nesting in the cracks of the city walls

The sky above Dubrovnik’s Old City is reminiscent of the world’s busiest airports. Hundreds of swifts fly over the roofs from all directions with their familiar twitter. They dart about, rotate, twist, glide and sometimes excitedly chase each other shrieking loudly. The crescendo of their noisy twitter is at times louder than the voices in the Stradun. The people of Dubrovnik are used to that, but the tourists are often surprised and impressed by their loud screams and huge numbers.

The Alpine Swift is the most commonly found summer bird in Dubrovnik, and its numbers on the coast are never as great as within the Old City. It is more resistant to weather conditions than its relative the Common Swift is, so it comes to our region earlier and leaves later. It arrives in April, nests in early May, and lays eggs in late May and the eggs hatch in early June. It nests in the cracks of cliffs, holes in the city walls, on the facades of houses and under roofs. Baby birds remain in the nests till they become capable of flying, which happens late in July and early in August. At that time, huge flocks of both adult and young birds leave their nests every morning and fly very far in search of food. Returning together before sunset, swifts create the City’s background music with their loud twitter. The swifts from the Old City sometimes migrate to the south only in late October.

swifts

Swift’s superpowers – sleeping in the air and weather forecasting

The Common Swift is an excellent flyer, and its body is exceptionally well adapted to living in the air. Staying in the air longer than any other bird, it flies faster, and more vigorously and dynamically than swallows, usually in huge and noisy flocks. Some swifts even spend the night flying and sleeping in the air. The Common Swift is useful for killing mosquitoes and flies.

The bird is also a sort of meteorologist – when flying low it announces a change of weather and rain, because when it is cold or damp flies and mosquitoes fly lower. However, although their huge noisy flocks at times resemble scenes from Hitchcock’s The Birds, swifts are the City’s favourite seasonal residents. They are a part of the City’s life cycle. Returning here when the winter is over, they herald a new season, and we are all in a better mood – explain the Old City residents. Without them, the City would be empty, and incomplete without its natural background music. Worth mentioning is that the swift is faithful to its homeland and it always returns to the same place it was hatched.

If you decide to join me on my walking tours inside the Old Town, we will surely have the pleasure of seeing the flight of these maginificent birds over our heads.

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