Giving a swift a second chance: Communities of swift lovers are growing in Europe. Chicks fall from nests and are nursed by volunteers until their feathers are fully grown, enabling the birds to reach the sky and fly to Africa. This summer CABS volunteers in Italy and Spain have helped save >700 swifts. This little one has quite a back story – abandoned by its parents in the nest in the town of Mortara and starved without food for days. The bird was recovered skinny and within just a few days surprised us with its hunger for life. He grew to 44 grams and was ready for launch. However, as a result of the long food deprivation its feathers were brittle and started breaking in the middle. Luckily there is a solution. Few vets can perform ‘imping’, i.e., inserting new feathers from a donor swift to the ‘broken bird’. Our staff travelled across northern Italy to Udine to take the swift to Doctor Stefano Pesaro, who performed the special operation perfectly and gave the swift two new wings! In the evening he was released on an open field, took off from the hands of Silvana (the woman behind the rescue association “Liberi di volare”) and with few powerful wing beats was airborne, circled over the volunteers few times and left with a joyful trill. He was named ‘Tramonto’ – Italian for ‘sunset’. The time of the day when young swifts take the challenge to leave their nest and fly!