Swift Awareness Week is almost upon us - taking place on 3rd-11th July - to celebrate the birds and help to reverse their decline.
Hackney and De Beauvoir Swifts Groups have organised evening swift walks in the local area, but numbers will be restricted to allow for social distancing, so book in quick to avoid disappointment.
The Hackney and De Beauvoir walk is 8-9pm and there will be short guided walks in the park throughout the evening, and a small exhibition about swifts.
To book, email firstname.lastname@example.org with the borough name in the subject line, and first name and surname of the attendees and a contact telephone in the email. Suggested donation of £5 for the walks which will be collected for local swift groups.
Follow @swiftsweek on Twitter to learn more and find out what else is going on.
Swifts return to Hackney
Swift nesting season is well underway, with the first sighting in London recorded on the 21st April. After their long journey from Africa, the swifts look for a safe place to nest for their three-month stay in the UK.
During summer evenings, residents will be familiar with the swift’s impressive calls as they fly fast and low around their nesting sites, forming so-called ‘screaming parties’. You may have noticed an increase in numbers throughout June, which will continue into July the younger and more boisterous ‘teenage’ birds arrive.
With swift numbers on the decline in the UK, residents across Hackney and De Beauvoir Town continue to play their part by installing nesting boxes in their homes. You can also spot nesting bricks that have been incorporated into extensions and new developments, providing valuable swift nesting spots during this vital breeding season.
The De Beauvoir and Hackney Swifts groups have shared some advice on what we can all be doing to support the swifts over the coming months, whether that’s installing swift call systems in nest boxes, or knowing your ‘swift first aid’ – we can all play our part.
Nesting boxes and bricks
Whilst the COVID-19 pandemic has restricted the installation of nest boxes, the Islington and Hackney Swifts Group has reported that another 30 boxes have been arranged to be installed between Camden and Waltham Forest, taking the Islington and Hackney total beyond 200 and 250 respectively.
If you are interested in installing a box, please get in touch with the Group, they cost approximately £50 which includes installation.
Swift call systems
For those who already have nest boxes, or even if your property has gaps in the eaves that could be used by the swifts, consider installing a swift call system. These systems mimic calls to either attract swifts, or ward other swifts away from a nest site using a defence call. Occasionally playing calls from a mobile phone could also do the trick, but make sure you consider the neighbours, so have a think about times and volume.
To find out more, visit the Swift Conservation website: www.swift-conservation.org
Swift first aid
If you find a swift on the ground or in your home, here are some tips for what to do next.
A huge thank you goes to the De Beauvoir Swifts group for providing the full info. Follow them on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/debeauvoirswifts/
Photos credit: De Beauvoir Swifts & Getty Images