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A swift plea from Abbie, aged 6 years and 1 month

Last modified: 02 May 2012

Summer in London just wouldn't be the same without insect gobbling swifts overhead

Almost as if they knew, swifts have arrived back in London to coincide with the sunshine, albeit sandwiched between heavy downpours.

The migrants have mostly spent the winter in warmer climes the other side of the Sahara desert, not immersed in mud under village ponds as many old English myths would have us believe.

Numbers of swifts have fallen and the species is amber listed as conservationists fear for their future. The cause or causes of their decline are not fully understood but a lack of food and nesting sites are believed to be two major factors. Both of which can be addressed.

Nothing I can say will resonate as much as the words and art of Abbie Hart, who's kindly agreed to let us reproduce her work here:

SWIFTS by Abbie Hart

Once there was 2 poorly swifts and then my Mum saved them and made them better.  She let them go, but one of them couldn't fly.  And then she made it better and she let it go.

They ate lots of insects and waxworms.  They were happy. They played with their friends in the sky and they flew past every day, so we knew they were better. But they went to Africa for the winter where it was warm. All the time they were thinking about us. They wished they could have more waxworms. They were too happy now.  They will come back in April or May. We will be happy when we see them again. 

And, if they come back in May on my Mum's birthday, they might be happy. And, they are good at flying now - they used to not be. And it's good to fly, because everyone wants to fly. They fly even when they are asleep and eat little bugs in the air. 

I love the Swifts so much, they will come back soon because it's nearly Spring. It's good when it's Spring. The Swifts are always happy, they love it. They just love drinking and they are black. They love us and my Dad is making a nest box for them. My Mum says that they are her favourite bird, but they're just my second favourite. My favourites are Long-Tailed Tits and Sparrows and the beautiful Swifts.                                                             

Abbie, her Mum and Dad have all stepped-up their action for swifts. Please join them by celebrating the arrival and departure of swifts. Why not arrange a welcome party or a goodbye barbecue and mark the occassion by putting-up a nestbox. You can also help us by taking part in our annual swift survey.

How you can help

Nature is in trouble – so millions of people are stepping up to help. Our wildlife has been disappearing at an alarming rate. But small steps make a big difference. If we all act together and get stuck in, we can save our wildlife.

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