A Swift Story – Photo-Finish Friday.

A couple of weeks ago my eldest came running into the house.

“Daddy, daddy!  There’s a baby bird in the garden with things crawling on it!”

First thoughts were that it was dead and the crawling things were maggots.  No, I’m not squeamish.  The only things that bother me are needles and midgets, but that’s another story.

I go outside and there’s this juvenile Swift.  The things crawling on it were (what I thought) the fattest ticks I’ve ever seen.  I’ve since found out that they were in fact bloodsucking louse flies.  I first tried getting the insects off with a small stick but that was useless.  I decided the only way to sort the thing out was to pick the bird up and grab the little blood suckers with my fingers.

I’ll tell you, you’ve never seen so many things that moved so quickly.  It was like something out of a sci-fi movie. The poor little bird was shaking like like a leaf.  The insects must have been sucking the life out of it.

I started grabbing them between thumb and index and squashed the little bastards on the wall, their full bodies exploding like “bloody” grenades with a satisfying “pop!”  There were screams from my daughters as the insects crawled from the bird and onto my hand and arm, but they were too full to get away.  All in all, I think I slaughtered around 12 of the things.

When I’d finished with the insects (and checked that there weren’t any more nestled under the feathers), the little bird seemed to settle down.  The only thing I could feel was its little heart beating away.

We put it in a tree in our garden and it sat there quite content.  The next morning it had gone.  I like to think that we helped the little dude/dudess!

The wingspan must have been at least 12 inches.

The numbers (although hard to determine due to their migration and the fact that they spend most of their life flying) are reported to be on the decline.  Maybe we saved one more!

Photo-Finish Friday is the creation of Leah J. Utas.  Go and check out her blog, The Goats Lunch Pail.

Comments are always welcomed.  Thanks for looking.




Filed under a swift story, bloodsucking louse fly, david barber, david barber's fiction world, leah j utas, photo finish friday, swift

10 responses to “A Swift Story – Photo-Finish Friday.

  1. Fabulous experience … I mean, except for the louse-popping which I enjoyed reading about while eating my breakfast. But holding the bird in your hand and helping him like that.. amazing. Something you'll likely never forget.

  2. Thanks, Cathy. Hope it didn't put you off your breakfast.

  3. David, that was a wonderful story. A little disgusting in places, but wonderful. I think the Swift or something similar will find a way to thank you.Love the birdie pics.

  4. What a story! That could easily be turned into some sort of horror tale with scuttling, blood sucking insects. I'm glad this had a happy ending for everyone.

  5. Dude, that completely rules. Now, can you find a way to smush the worst of the bloodsuckers, politicians, I'm looking at you.

  6. Nice one, mate. Arkid used to have Kestrels (remember?), and any time an injured bird was found, word would spread about "The Birdman of Higher Croft"! Not to trump you, mate, but I recall Dek sorting a magpie, a carrion crow, several sparrows, blackbirds 'n' pigeons over the years. So I can really appreciate what you did here. Very touching. Good on yer, mate. I must say, I was hoping for a twist ending, whereby it shat on yer car as it flew off! 🙂

  7. Love the big closeup. What great aeronautical design, and such a fierce expression in that eye. Thanks.

  8. I bet you're a hero in them parts.

  9. Nicely done, though I'm still shuddering at the thought of the popping insects.I'm reminded of the time I picked about 100 flease off my body…but that's a long story…

  10. You have a good heart, my friend.

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