15 JUNE 1929, Page 20


Su:,—Yesterday evening we noticed a swift caught somehow in a small hole under the roof of our house. A ladder was fetched and the bird released with care to prevent its being hurt. It seemed, however, unable to fly, and eventually we put it into the greenhouse for the night for safety, thinking it might be exhausted and stronger again in the morning. We could not discover any damage to wings or legs. Later in the evening whilst reading the Spectator of June 1st I came across Sir W. Beach Thomas's notes on Country Life, in which he writes that " it is commonly said that swifts cannot rise unaided from the ground, but this is only so if the surface is unusually smooth and flat, when the long wings and short legs may be a fatal handicap."

This morning the swift appeared to be in exactly the same condition as yesterday, and lay motionless on the lawn till after breakfast, when, in view of what we had read in the Spectator, my wife tried the experiment of gently dropping it from an upraised hand. It only fluttered to the ground. Though rather fearful of hurting its possibly damaged wings, I finally threw the bird up into the air. It fluttered uncer- tainly for a moment, and then flew away as only a ,swift can fly, evidently quite unhurt in any way.

If I had not chanced to read the Spectator last night we should undoubtedly have decided that we must put the poor creature " out of its (supposed) misery."—I am, Sir, &c., GUY BEECH.

Turvey Rectory, Bedford.