These birds can fly almost ten months without landing
We have discovered that the common Swift, a long a long-distance migrating bird spends its entire non-breeding season, a period of 10 month up in the air. And during that period they never come down to roost on the ground or in trees. A few individuals do so but only for very brief periods. But there are also individuals that never come down at all. They spend their entire 10-month period up in the air. 10-month is the current world record for being airborne. And this gives us a new questions of course; How is it possible to be active for such a long time? Because flight and especially powered flight is very energy demanding. But also we don’t know when and how much the swifts are sleeping. But one possibility is that since we have discovered that they climb to very high altitudes both at dawn and dusk, it could be that this is the period when they actually take their naps when they come down in gliding flight. We have developed a new type of technology, a small backpack that we put on the bird. That contains light sensors for geolocation and by that we can tell where the bird has been during migration. But also and more importantly this device contains an accelerometer And the accelerometer detects movements of the bird. The entire backpack weighs less than a gram. We need to have a very light device so we don’t interfere with the birds natural behavior.