A high flying summer guest
Silhouetted high in the sky, swifts are easy to recognise from their iconic arched wing shape and short forked tail.
Swifts are hard to forget, soaring amongst the chimney stacks and skyscrapers, screeching to one another and then suddenly swooping into their nests hidden amongst the eaves and barn beams. With unbelievable stamina, swifts very rarely land which earned them their Latin name meaning ‘no-foot no-foot’.
They fly for months at a time: eating, sleeping and mating without ever landing. But once here and ready to lay their eggs they seek the same sheltered, secluded space each year.
As we renovate and knock down buildings all over Yorkshire, their nesting sites are ever fewer. With food sources dwindling, their numbers have plummeted.
We're helping swifts all across Yorkshire
The summer skies above North Cave Wetlands and Staveley nature reserves become a feeding frenzy for swifts. We protect these insect rich meadows and pastures which provide essential food to birds which have soared non-stop from Africa.
We work in partnership with schools, communities and councils to install more nest boxes for swifts and we advise developers of the importance of leaving historic nesting sites when renovations or new buildings are planned. We do all this to ensure that these summer holiday makers have somewhere to call home year after year.
But their future is far from certain
Since 1995 the British swift population has declined by a shocking 53% .
These once common visitors are now few and far between, with wildlife lovers searching the skies in hope of seeing their return. In the 1950s and 1960s our skies were full of insects, resulting in car windscreens getting regularly splattered with numerous bugs. Today, increased use of pesticides has resulted in a sharp decline in insect numbers, meaning food is now scare for sky soaring swifts.
Many old buildings are being demolished or renovated, and modern housing doesn't offer the same nooks and crannies for nesting.
The food and shelter that swifts rely upon each summer is no longer there.
Save the swift
Without you the future of our swifts is uncertain. Donations to the Wildlife Recovery Fund will ensure species like swifts have a chance to recover while we make up for lost time in 2020.
You can make a difference
A Yorkshire full of buzzing, flying insects will guarantee that when swifts do return each year there is food aplenty to revive them after their long arduous journey. Restoring our landscapes to connect wildlife rich meadows and verges, grassy banks and gardens full of wildflowers will also provide a vital food source.
Fewer chemicals and conscious planting for pollinators will see increases in insects everywhere. Putting up special swift boxes on houses, and making sure existing nesting sites are left undisturbed throughout the year, will help guarantee future generations of screeching, soaring swifts.