Over 100 local events have been organised by local Swiftconservation groups around the UK and in Eire in an attempt to raise the profile of this fast declining bird.
To see a map showing where the events are and to read full details of each one, go to the Action for Swifts blog: https://actionforswifts.blogspot.com/p/2019-swift-awareness-week.html
Nick Brown, SAW2019 Coordinator and the organiser of the Derbyshire Swift Conservation Project, said:
“The very cool and wet weather we have had for most of May and June does not suit Swifts. They are either incubating their eggs or trying to feed small young and they need warm dry conditions to find the insects and spiders floating in the air on which they feed.
Swifts have declined by over 50% in recent years. Like many other UK bird species, they are facing a very uncertain future.
Swift Awareness Week aims to raise the profile of this troubled bird and show how easy it is to help by putting up nest boxes for them.”
This spring, Swifts have returned to the UK from their wintering quarters in Africa in lower numbers than ever before since records began. They had to battle through some very bad weather in the Mediterranean which seems to have delayed and even killed some birds.
Once back in the UK, the poor May and June weather is likely to have had an impact on their breeding success, with eggs deserted and thrown out of the nest and some adults found on the ground, sodden and emaciated.
However, the main threat that Swifts face is posed by the renovation of older properties when the holes through which they access their nests are routinely blocked up. To compound this, new buildings have no access for birds or bats of any species unless special provision is made for them.
“A wonderful community of over 85 local Swift groups around the UK and in Eire too has sprung up over the last few years. They are doing a sterling job by holding local events in SAW2019, making people aware of this bird and its plight and urging them to help by putting up special Swift nest boxes for them.
So, if there’s an Awareness event near where you live, do try to get along and find out more about these fascinating birds who’s screaming calls are ‘ the Sound of Summer’ for so many in both town and countryside”.
Local Swift groups have sprung up across the country in response to the growing problems these birds face. While some are linked to county wildlife trusts, the RSPB or local bird groups, the majorityare independent. Details of each local group can be seen on the map at http://actionforswifts.blogspot.com/2015/02/swifts-local-network.html .
The events organised include talks, displays, stalls and evening walks to watch Swifts as they swirl above the rooftops.