Origin:- This phrase originated with the WWII patriotic song Coming in on a Wing and a Prayer, 1943, by Harold Adamson and Jimmie McHugh, which tells of a damaged warplane, barely able to limp back to base:- (You can find the lyrics HERE)
So what does this have to do with my blog?
This morning on my way to collect the paper I cam across what I thought was a baby bird in distress. So imagine my surprise when I picked it up and recognised it as a Swift. I took it home and let it rest in the warmth of my hand for almost an hour before it made any attempt to move around.
Then DH and I took it outside and attempted to release it. Unfortunately, every time we encouraged it to fly it simply fluttered to the ground.
I knew Swifts live their lives on the wing and that when they land they are unable to take off again because of the length and shape of their wings. So after several fruitless atempts, I rang round various places for advice. Finally I connected with Diane from The Wild Bird and Owl Havenwhich is run as a non-profit, un-incorporated Association with Charity status applied for and is based in Norfolk, UK.
Until Diane told us, what I didn't know was that to release a swift you need to 'chuck it out of a bedroom window' too give it the height to fly freely with enough up-draft beneath its wings to keep it airborn! Wonderful, we had a solution, but also we had a majorp problem. We don't live in a two story property with high-level bedroom windows!
So what to do?
Sheds! We have a couple of sheds in the back garden, so we hauled out the step-ladder, climbed onto a shed roof and hurled the little guy into the air. Ans WOW! He took off like a rocket, straight over the field next door. We wer thrilled, and then amazed as several more Swifts joined it and flew round together for a few moments before taking off to higher realms after their natural food source.