For many people, the sound of swifts screeching overhead tells us that summer is here. On a bleak January morning like today, it seems like this is a way off - but every year these birds come back. The fastest bird in level flight; swifts are built for speed and to stay on the wing the whole time, apart from when they are nesting and raising their young.
The population of these birds has halved in last twenty years. The reason for this decline is complex, but we do know that they need safe nesting sites in order to breed and that these nesting sites are being lost as older buildings are replaced by newer, less swift-friendly buildings.
By installing swift boxes we can do our part to help increase the habitats available for swifts in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire . With your assistance, the Trust can help build a connected network of nesting sites (and habitats for their insect food) to help these wonderful birds recover in numbers.
During 2019, we launched the three counties swift survey and asked you to send in your records of breeding behaviour of swifts. It is important that we know where swifts are breeding to help protect these sites and install new nest boxes in areas where screaming swifts are recorded.
Thank you to everyone that took part, we received nearly 100 records of screaming parties of swifts or nest boxes from across the three counties. This knowledge really is invaluable to help build up a picture of how swifts are faring on our patch. Your records really are essential to our work.