Swifts are iconic summer visitors who brighten our skies with their high-speed aerial antics. They are often noticeable at dusk; on a warm evening, look out for dark scythe-shaped birds, darting around rooftops forming “screaming parties.” Being the last migrant to arrive and the first to leave, they are heralded as a true sign of summer. Swifts are the fastest bird in level flight reaching speeds of up to 69mph. Swifts sleep, eat and even mate on the wing, they don’t build a mud cup nest like swallows and martins but nest inside eaves.
But….swifts are in trouble. Their breeding numbers plummeted by 47 per cent between 1995-2014, making them an amber-listed species and a Bird of Conservation Concern. Since we cleared our ancient forests swifts have nested happily alongside us but unfortunately due to changes in building regulations and materials, they can no longer access the eaves of buildings. This is thought to be ones of the main causes of their decline in the UK.
It’s very simple to provide new homes for swifts with internal nesting bricks. There are now new, low cost options available on the market which include the Manthorpe brick, developed by the RSPB and Barratt’s and available to all. Find out more by clicking here.
The benefits of enjoying nature on your doorstep cannot be overstated. Also, caring for swifts will help sites make a positive contribution to environmental improvement. The presence of swifts would enhance any development, as they also eat vast quantities of insects and are quiet, clean neighbours.
To find out more click the resource below.
Image credit to Dennis Atherton.
Entry submitted by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).