Swift Awareness Week a soaring success!

The first ever UK Swift Awareness Week, held in June (16-23rd) had over 90 events running across the country, all designed to raise the profile of the Swifts. Swifts, although still widespread, have declined by over 50% in the last 25 years and part of the reason for this is because we exclude them from our buildings when they are renovated.
Swift Awareness Week, Bakewell

Swift Awareness Week, Bakewell

In Derbyshire, there were five awareness events, attracting over 160 people.

  • A remarkable 100 people turned up for an evening walk in Hathersage to observe swifts.
  • An evening walk in Bakewell drew 40 people.
  • A walk in Derby and Melbourne.
  • A swift-watching evening in Chesterfield held at a house where nine pairs nest.

 

Nick Brown, who runs the Derbyshire Swift Conservation Project and who’s idea Swift Awareness Week was, said: “Swifts spend most of their lives flying endlessly over Africa, only returning to Europe for three months in the summer to raise their young.

They hoover up millions of tiny spiders and insects such as midges and aphids flying high in the air and they only come to earth when they have to lay their eggs.

They find tiny holes in older properties, usually either under the eaves or under roof tiles, and squeeze in to any dark space to make the nests and lay their eggs.

When houses have new soffits or a new roof, these holes are accidentally blocked up and the birds find themselves homeless.

And new buildings are so hermetically sealed there’s no way a swift could get in to breed.”
 

Swifts by David Naylor

Swifts by David Naylor

"“Swifts spend most of their lives flying endlessly over Africa, only returning to Europe for three months in the summer to raise their young."

He added:

“Fortunately this iconic bird, whose crazy flights low over our roofs in summer demand our attention, has many supporters. There are over 60 local Swift Groups now across the UK and each one works to help this bird by putting up nest boxes, raising its profile locally and trying to get councils, developers and builders to incorporate nest boxes in new housing”.