My name is Dave Newbrook and my aim is to highlight the plight of one of our iconic Summer bird migrants the Swift . I’ve lived in Sale all my life and every year I’ve looked forward to the arrival in late April to the arrival of Swifts , from their long journey from Africa , to nest and raise another generation here in the U.K. But everything isn’t rosy in the world of the Swift they have suffered a major plunge in numbers of up to 50% in the last two decades , their are a number of factors that have led to this from a decline of their food (flying insects) caused by the use of pesticides and farming monocultures and the loss of places to nest and breed . Whilst the issue of of the Swifts loss of food is a problem that must be tackled globally the loss of nesting sites is something that we all can do something about , the Swift has over the millennia become dependant on man to provide places to nest , they use spaces in our roofs and cracks in buildings to build their nests and raise their young , however in recent years these nest sites have been lost as buildings have been renovated and older properties demolished , the Swift has been squeezed out of our urban landscapes . Their are things that we can do to hopefully stop the decline of the Swift population , we can place Swift nest boxes on our existing buildings , we can encourage developers to incorporate Swift bricks in new buildings , we can plant wildflower plots in our gardens , we can encourage local authorities to leave verges uncut , we can lobby our politicians to encourage our farmers to farm more ecologically.
My hope is that I can start a local group of like minded individuals who will take up the baton of preserving the Swift populations that we have in Trafford and with the hope of encouraging new populations of Swifts to flourish - as the thought of Summers without the sight and sound of screaming parties of Swifts at rooftop height is something we shouldn’t allow to happen . Their are a number of websites where one can access information . https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/swift/https://www.bristolswifts.co.uk/ Please use the embedded Swift Mapper tool to report any Swifts seen in the Trafford area to enable us to monitor any established Swift colonies. Those locations can be targeted with info leaflets and extra nest boxes can be installed.
and on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/1170884869909171/?ref=share
For further detail on swift habitats look at https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1xvEaifwNt5NlHpFAZvulp9aNtscKlmVhLUU-0BKA134/mobilepresent?slide=id.g548f7d1b64_0_6
We would like to get an idea of existing colonies in Trafford so those locations can be targeted with info leaflets. Extra nest boxes can then be installed in those areas.
Please report swift sightings on both Swift mapper and Greater Manchester Local Records Centre https://gmlrc.org/ The latter database is used in planning assessments.
Hopefully this has inspired you to take action to S.O.S. (Save Our Swifts)!
To contact David for further information and assistance on installing your own swift habitats contact Trafford Wildlife through the 'Join Us' page.
Swift photograph with permission of Simon Richardson