Swifts And People

People harvest swiftlet nests for use in bird's nest soup. Bird watchers enjoy watching colonies of swifts fly across the sky. Some people track their migration and report the birds' progress on the Internet.

WAITING OUT THE BAD WEATHER

Swifts depend on the weather for their food supply. They rely on breezes to blow insects in their direction. During a storm, rain washes the insects away, depleting the swifts' food supply. Cold weather also decreases the number of insects for the birds to feed on. For swift nestlings too young to fly, the solution is becoming torpid. Nestlings enter torpor, a state in which their body temperature drops and their heartbeat slows. In this state, birds can go for ten days without food.

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