Swifts find very small gaps in eaves or under roof tiles to nest – you will never see a Swift nest. Don’t confuse Swifts with House Martins and Swallows that build mud cups to raise their young.
Swifts never land – other than when they are breeding – they leave the nest after 6 weeks, growing from a newborn bald chick to a bird ready for life on the wing, and do not return until they are ready to breed aged 3 or 4 years. But today’s building methods and materials mean that there are fewer places for Swifts to nest and it is believed that this is a major reason for the 50% loss of these birds in the last 20 years.
The Swifts here at the Bog have returned each year and I have always timed a visit to the centre in the few weeks that the birds are here between the start of May and the start of August to see them. They nest in natural gaps on the west gable – however a couple of boxes were put up on the north wall in spring 2019 to offer them more nesting opportunities.
In autumn 2019 further Swift nesting opportunities will be provided by installing a box at the apex of the west gable.
These birds are amazing aerial acrobats, their screaming parties bring life and joy to our town centres during their brief 12 weeks with us and they eat vast numbers of insects – you may see them feeding over rape fields in summer.
Do look out for them when you are here in the summer, look at the poster in the display area and take a Swift group information card.
Many talk about the days when the skies were black with Swifts but sadly this is no longer the case. So if you are able to help offer Swifts a home by creating or retaining existing nest sites when carrying out repairs, putting up a nest box or installing Swift bricks into your new build or extension then please see the following websites for advice.
Swift Conservation - https://www.swift-conservation.org/
Action for Swifts - http://actionforswifts.blogspot.com/
Bristol Swifts - https://www.bristolswifts.co.uk/
RSPB - https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/swift-family/
Peak Boxes – supplier of the custom made apex box - https://www.peakboxes.co.uk/
Or contact Shropshire Swift Group email@example.com who have been helping the county’s Swifts since 2011.
If you find a grounded Swift please contact :-
Cuan Wildlife Rescue https://www.cuanwildliferescue.org.uk/ or on 01952 728070 without delay – these birds need specialist care.
Swifts at The Bog Centre
I first saw Swifts at the Bog Centre in June 2014 – a real surprise to find a small group on what is now such an isolated building. Perhaps there were many Swifts there in years gone before all the buildings were lost.
These birds are almost 100% dependent on our buildings to provide small spaces in nooks and crannies for them to build their nests, lay eggs and raise their 1 or 2 chicks each year. There are a handful of nest sites in old trees in Scotland, inland cliffs and sea cliffs in Wales that have Swifts nesting but this is very rare.
Peta Sams who kindly donated a swift box to the Bog Visitor Centre.