Many people have dedicated their time
to helping a particular species. But why
swifts for you?
The more I learn about swifts the more I love them. They’re fascinating birds. They eat, sleep, mate and collect nest materials on the wing. During warm summer evenings it’s like watching the Red Arrows but even better. I like to call them the Black Arrows. You can even
hear the thud as they dart back into the nest box; they fly through like rockets! They also make an incredible screaming sound. But for me, the magic happens when swifts spiral into the sky in communal groups. It’s just stunning.
Why is the species in trouble?
In the 1970s and 1980s I used to see feeding flocks and movements of up to 500 birds flying over the Regents Park area of Southampton, but now a count of just 40 is noteworthy. Swifts naturally breed in mature trees, but they have come to rely on small gaps and holes in
buildings, which provide a safe nesting place. Around the time the decline began I could see that buildings were changing – homes were being sealed up to remove gaps and wooden soffit boards were being replaced with plastic.