Yes, wrote. Birdtober is supposed to be about visual art, but I'm borrowing photos to illustrate, and writing instead.
I learned a lot about the swifts in general and the Antillean Palm-Swift in particular, only a tiny bit of which shows up in the poem. For example, the family name is Apodidae, meaning footless. My first draft used the word "footless," but I replaced it with "footloose," because they aren't really footless. They got that name because they hardly ever use their feet, since they are almost always flying. Antillean Palm-Swifts have purple feet, reportedly. I wouldn't know, because they never hold still, and I only see them flying way way way above me. But I believe it, because Philip Henry Gosse, the British naturalist who first named them in Jamaica in the 1840s, tells us without a trace of regret that he saw a bird clinging to a nest, "which I shot." Presumably he then held it in his hand to examine every part. You can read more of his detailed and fascinating description here. (I'll put links to more of my sources at the end of the post.)
I really wanted to put Gosse himself in the poem, because he was quite the character, but I didn't - this time. Maybe later!
You'll see in the poem that they build nests, in common with other swift
species, using their spit; this species nests in coconut palms. You'll also see some more of their habits.
©Ruth Bowen Hersey