Date(s) - 22/06/2018
7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
The Hive, Kennington Park
Categories No Categories
16-23rd June 2018 is the UK’s first Swift Awareness Week and there are approximately 100 events taking place across the UK.(https://actionforswifts.bl
ogspot.com/2018/01/2018-uk-swi ft-awareness-week-16-23-june.h tml)
Swifts have declined by 50% in 20 years, with half that decline in the last 5 years, so we need to do something fast to keep our swifts. Swifts are summer migrants, with us in the UK between May and August before returning to southern Africa for the winter – famously they do not land all winter and even sleep on the wing. They come here to our towns and cities for our nesting sites, as in centuries gone by they found plenty of small gaps in our buildings, warm and dry and safe from predators – returning to exactly the same nest site again and again for their lifespan of up to twenty years. With renovation, extensions, demolition and modern building methods these spaces are disappearing fast. But we can help.
Firstly we need to keep the nest sites we have, through raised awareness of swift-friendly refurbishments.
Residents and organisations can also install nestboxes if their building is suitable, at least 4m in height (i.e. at least two storeys generally) without too many trees in the way. North-facing or shaded is best but even due south is OK, you will just need a plastic insulating roof to the box.
Also anyone can request the local planning authority require swifts bricks in new developments, most Councils have guidance on this but don’t always implement it if no-one reminds them.
Finally reporting records of nest sites or low-lying swifts on the RSPB swift survey website is really useful as data is very sparse.
Mike Priaulx is the founder member of Islington Swifts Group (www.islingtonswifts.wordpress
.com) and also often represents the national organisation Swift Conservation (www.swift-conservation.org).
Swifts can be very elusive depending on the weather, so even if few swifts are seen on the walks, Mike will be able to give you some guidance on how to identify the other birds which are singing in the park.
You can contact Mike directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, and the Islington Swifts Twitter account is @islingt_swifts