Thursday, 25 June 2009

Swifts

Eurasian Swift (J. Sanz)
I'm really into Swifts and I'm quite alarmed about their demise in numbers over the years - down by 47% according to figures released by the RSPB. Over the years, I have actually noticed a slump in numbers. Far less birds are to be found swooping low over the grassland at Wormwood Scrubs than in previous years. I remember tons more Swifts flying around on hot summer days when I was a teenager at school.

And the reason for the decline? A lack of nest sites. We are building structures without the crevices that these birds so love. I just hope that the architects who design new buildings wake up to the opportunity that they have to help hole nesters survive and prosper.

They have enough dangers to face on their long migrations. Let's get out there and make some holes!

7 comments:

holdingmoments said...

It would be a tragedy to no longer hear and see these birds filling the skies on warm summer days. It's what summer is about.

A campaign is needed for more holes!

Tombola said...

Definitely. Are there any special boxes available for use where holes aren't possible?

Nathalie said...

Tombola:
No relation except as a happy customer, but for example Jacobi Jayne are offering a whole range of options:
http://www.jacobijayne.co.uk/nest-boxes-by-species/swift/
You could also have a look at this London-swifts page:
http://www.londons-swifts.org.uk/Nestboxes&Attraction.htm

I'd miss them too :( I have less of them than previous years too, though some must be breeding locally (North Fulham) as I have a regular screaming group of 8, but last Saturday I saw the most in one go over & around the Thames with probably well over 100. Truly magical!

richard said...

You should see the area named Babadag. The sky is almost filled with swifts.

Andy said...

Hey, David. Can we stick this link up so that folk can record their sightings for the RSPB's campaign?

Tombola said...

Thanks Nathalie, that's great! We're moving house in the next few months so as soon as we're in I'll get to work on finding out what would be best to install. I'm excited at the prospect!

My mum had a bird box with a camera in that she used with her class at school, would be great if I could get something similar too.

Nathalie said...

Tombola,
my pleasure!
I hope you find a home for the swifts (and others) in your new home.