From the canyon rim you can often see birds in flight. Look
especially for ravens, white-throated swifts, and violet-green
swallows. The ravens give you time to look as they gracefully
glide along, but you must be sharp to see the swifts and
swallows; they move fast.
"But the birds most
in evidence along the
South Rim..were the
white-throated swifts well
named Aeronautes saxatalis
being indeed both aeronautes
and rock dwellers...
On long, bony, pointed wings,
with wing power that never
ceases to be a wonder, the
arrowhead fliers sped along,
now high above, now down below
the rim of the canyons, now rushing
by to dissappear out in space, their
gay chittering lost in the distance."
"Along the rim with the swifts...
were often seen violet-green
swallows. How could the two be
told apart (when passing rapidly
by)?... in the sky the main
differences were those of form
and flight, the broader wings of
the swallow contrasting with the
narrower, bony ones of the swift,
whose flight was correspondingly
bolder and more spectacular."
The swifts and swallows are
primarily summer residents, nesting
on canyon walls.
"...over the rim I discovered
first one and then another black
form below. What was the game?
Were they toying with the air
currents?... from deep down
below they would let the morning
upcurrent lift them to the height
that pleased them, then break
away, circle about, fly down,
and drift up again like children
Ravens life here year round, and are
easily identified by their large black
bodies and croaking calls.
The quotes on this panel are the words of Florence Merriam Bailey
from her 1939 book, Among the birds in the Grand Canyon Country.