PLEASE DONATE TOWARDS OUR SWIFT PROJECT.
WE NEED TO PURCHASE SWIFT BOXES AND IN SOME CASES, PROFESSIONAL INSTALLERS
WE WANT TO RAISE £1,000.
The Swift is an amazing bird. It lives on the wing. The only time it comes to land is when it is nesting. They eat, drink, mate and even sleep! when flying. They are migratory birds and fly all the way from Equatorial Africa to nest here and can be seen and heard in our skies from May to July/August. This is a flight of 14,000 miles. They are the fastest flying bird in the world in level flight, having been recorded at 69.3mph.
They are not related to swallows or house martins, in fact, their nearest relative is the humming bird. They feed exclusively on tiny airborne spiders, mosquitoes, midges, flies and other small flying insects which means they are a brilliant natural pest control. They mix their prey with saliva and store them in a special sack at the back of their throat. Swifts are very clean nesters and make no droppings near the nest, which makes them good houseguests! They pair for life and always return to the same nesting spot.
They prefer to nest out of sight in nooks and crannies under eaves in older buildings. Swifts are colonial nesters, which means they nest only in proximity to other nesting Swifts. When they fledge they do not touch down again for 2-3 years.
So, why do they need our help? As we renovate old houses or put up new ones there is no place for them to nest as there are now no nooks and crannies under eaves. Imagine having the same summer home every year, travelling that distance and then finding it no longer exists!
The population of swifts visiting the UK has now fallen so low that as of last year they are on the Red list of Birds of Conservation Concern in the UK.
What can we do to help?
We need to put up swift nest boxes. These need are best placed on North or East facing walls at least 4.5 metres high and tucked close under eaves. West and East locations that receive sun for just part of the day can sometimes prove suitable too, by using nest boxes with white roofs of a good thickness to reflect sunlight and insulate from heat. There should be nothing underneath the wall that would break the flight of fledging birds as they first take to wing.