Posted on: 16 May 2015
The public have been asked to help the RSPB build up a clearer picture of the number of Common Swifts across the country.
Swifts travel around 12,000 miles every year from Africa to Britain and Ireland to feed and breed. They are aerial acrobats, swooping high through the skies with distinctive scythe-shaped wings. In fact, they are such adept fliers that they eat and sleep on the wing, not touching the ground unless they are nesting.
Common Swifts like to nest in the cracks and crevices of buildings, high up in the eaves. They pair for life, meeting up each spring at the same nest site which is ‘renovated’ and reused year after year. Unfortunately, as old buildings are fixed up or demolished, these sites are often lost which means that it can be difficult for a displaced pair to find a suitable replacement site in time to lay eggs and raise a brood, before it’s time to head back to warmer climes in August.
The population of swifts in the UK has declined dramatically in recent years and, as a result, the species is now Amber-listed (of medium conservation concern). In order to help them, the RSPB wants to know where they’ve been seen and where they're nesting.