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Out of Africa: The swifts of Beijing

Amazing research now suggests that Beijing’s swifts, the tiny creatures most residents pass by without noticing, are some of the most well-travelled birds on the planet, averaging an astonishing 124,000 miles of flight in their life, barely landing for years on end, and migrating as far as the southern tip of Africa. This week on Sinica, Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn spoke with Terry Townshend, founder of the environmental education and travel organization EcoAction China and creator of the “Birding Beijing” website, for an inside look at how the scientific community discovered these amazing facts. We also discuss how the changing urban landscape of Beijing is affecting the natural environment for these amazing creatures.

Recommendations:

http://birdingbeijing.com/

Action for Swifts

http://actionforswifts.blogspot.com

British Trust for Ornithology

http://www.bto.org

Purity: A Novel, by Jonathan Franzen

http://www.amazon.com/Purity-A-Novel-Jonathan-Franzen/dp/0374239215

Cement and Pig Consumption Reveal China’s Huge Changes

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-33802777

Kaiser Kuo

Kaiser Kuo is co-founder of the Sinica Podcast and editor-at-large of SupChina.