This week is Swift Awareness Week (June 22nd – 30th). I love Swifts and am lucky enough to have some nesting in the loft. Also known as Devil Birds, for their screaming. For me the call of the Swift is one of the sounds of the summer. Arriving from Africa through out May and June, these birds fill the skies with their acrobatic flight and haunting cries.
But there are too few Swifts in the sky. Their numbers have fallen significantly since the seventies and Swifts are now on the amber list. Swifts have declined by over 50% in recent years.
Born blind, parent birds tap their young on the head to get their attention in order to feed them.
Push ups. In the nest, young swifts do push ups on the tips of their wings to strengthen themselves, ready for their main flight all the way to Africa.
Two years on the wing. From the first leap from the nest, Swifts can spend up to two years in the air without touching the ground. They eat, sleep, preen, drink and mate on the wing.
Swifts can fly up to about 10,000ft up into the sky. And they can fly up to 69mph.
What You Can Do To Help
One of the most important things in conservation is hope. Hope that we can help revive a population. And there are things you can do to help the Swift population. Over 100 events have been organised by Swift conservation groups around the UK for SAW2019.
Nest boxes. One of the things Swifts need are more places to nest. Swift nest boxes can be attached to the outside of your house. Usually they will not nest in the boxes the first year they are up. But they will source next boxes the summer before they use them.
Spreading awareness. Letting more people know about this wonderful bird and how we need to help it. And learning more about these wonderful birds yourself (follow the links below to find out more).
Resources: www.swift-conservation.org | RSPB.org.uk |