Swift watching this summer

A suggestion for an interesting activity, which you can incorporate into your local exercise walk, and stay within the social-distancing guidelines…

It’s simply this. Keep a look out for your local Swifts. They arrive in early May, and quite likely there’ll be some near you. If you see any – fast moving, black, anchor-shaped, and slightly larger than Swallows – flying low over rooftops, possibly making screaming calls as they pass, please note where they are. No other British bird behaves like this. It’s an indication there are nest sites nearby. You might even be lucky enough to spot one returning to its nest hole – usually under the eaves of a building.

Why are we interested? The Swift population is less than 50% of what it was 25 years ago. They really need our help. Having these records can help Swift conservation by increasing our knowledge of local populations, enabling us to protect a nest site or lobbying for new ones.

Please send any observations of:
• birds at nests
• screaming parties and low-flying Swifts or
• large numbers of birds feeding over wetlands
– to me at: mason@cando.eclipse.co.uk

Thank you.

Chris Mason
Cherwell Swifts