Science: Whither, Swift?

The chimney swift is one of the swiftest small birds alive (up to 150 m.p.h.). Until last week no one had ever been able to say where it was going in such a hurry, when it took off for the winter. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had banded 375,000 swifts, never traced a one to its winter hideout. For lack of a better theory, some naturalists surmised that the swifts buried themselves in swamps to hibernate.

Indian hunters in a South American jungle produced the first evidence of the swifts' winter whereabouts—13 bands taken from birds they had killed. The place:...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!