It’s spring and soon we will be thrilled by the acrobatics and gyroscopic flights of swifts, with the summer sound of swift screams across our skies as they seek new nest sites or a hopeful return to their old favourites. Babies are born and then at only 4-6 weeks old and weighing no more than a Cadbury’s Crème Egg, they fly in flocks of family groups on the long land and sea journey to Africa. They stay there before returning the next year for 4 months to learn about Stradbroke’s food supply--and nesting opportunities for when they grow up.
But sadly modern building materials, demolished barns and house renovations, etc, have permanently removed so many nesting sites that breeding has severely declined. You may have noticed we have fewer swifts in Stradbroke now. Swift numbers are down 60% in UK. They are on Endangered status. Climate change will create more problems. But we can save these amazing birds. We can build up sustainable swift numbers by installing special swift boxes—several if possible. Then many more swifts will breed and return to Stradbroke year after year. They mate for life and live for up to 20 years.
Nesting needs & more Join locally
http://actionforswifts.blogspot.com Rendlesham Talk/Swift Walk and a Pint (details to come)
Suffolk Wildlife Trust and Suffolk Bird Group have joined up for SOS Swifts--“Save Our Suffolk Swifts” (Google search). You can help our swifts by keeping a time log of the “screaming parties” your family sees. Contact email@example.com (or send findings to firstname.lastname@example.org).
Be an ambassador for swifts and spread the word to friends.
SWIFT FAMILY QUIZ ( Answers scroll down)
1 When do swifts come to UK?
a) April b) May c) June/July
2 What do swifts feed on?
a) non-stinging, flying insects b) airborne spiders c) raindrops
3 Which of these activities do swifts do while flying?
a) eat b) mate c) drink d) hunt food for baby swifts e) sleep
4 How many months of the year are they entirely on the wing?
a) 4 months b) 7 months c) 10 months
Answers to Swift Family Quiz:
1. All the months. Different ages come at different times. 2. All of these.
3. All of these. 4. c) 10 months
Go to the links in the swift article and make your own quiz!
Make a swift fact book as a school project.
Copy a photo of swifts. Note their very short legs and huge wings.