News archive

April 2019

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

SOS - Save Our Swifts!

SOS - Save Our Swifts!

In about two months time our swifts will be returning to our shores having spent the winter flying around over Africa. A week or so into May should see them back in areas where we hope they will breed.
Sadly our survey has shown that in 1995 they were reported from 73% of gardens, but by 2017 that was down to just 42%. This trend is reflected elsewhere with the BTO's Breeding Bird Survey showing a nationwide population decline of 53% between 1995 and 2016, with a 58% decline in London over the same period.
Swifts have a strong affinity with man-made structures and often nest in eaves flying up to the building and swooping in through a gap between the wall and roof. They will also make use of small holes left by missing bricks or gaps between barge boards and gable ends of a roof.
How can you help? We would like people to report sightings of swifts in the Croydon area. This will allow us to monitor where they can be found. We would appreciate if you could email us with information about when and where you saw your swifts, along with number of birds. Also telling us about what the birds were doing could help us to establish whether they are potentially nesting somewhere; birds flying into the eaves shows there is a nest there, while birds screaming around a rooftop would suggest there is a territory nearby. Those wheeling around high up may either be feeding or trying attract a mate and some will simply be passing through.
If there are swifts in your area you could try putting up a swift nestbox or, if you are having structural work done to your house (or know a neighbour who is) you could consider having a swift nesting brick, with integral nest box, installed. And, if you hear of maintenance work going on (or scheduled) on a building where swifts nest, try having a word with the owners to mitigate against losing the nest site or access to it.
Click on the link to find out more.