Copyright © Klaus Roggel Courtesy of www.swift-conservation.org
Why do swifts need our help?
Swifts are undergoing startling national declines that have seen them added to the UK Red List of Birds of Conservation Concern in 2021. Over half of the UK swift population has disappeared from our skies in the past 25 years, and our local population has followed the same trend.
While research continues into the reasons for this, the loss of their nest sites is thought to be a major factor. Swifts have lived alongside people for centuries, nesting in cavities in our buildings behind roof tiles and eaves. When buildings are refurbished these spaces are often lost, and modern design of new buildings generally doesn’t consider the needs of swifts. Swifts pair for life and return to the same nest sites year after year, so when nest sites are blocked or lost it is difficult for them to adapt, find a new site and breed successfully.
Changes in insect food may also be having an effect. Swifts fly high in the air and feed on insects including flying ants, spiders, mosquitoes, moths, aphids and beetles. Many insect populations are in decline due to habitat loss and the widespread use of pesticides.
It is very difficult to attract swifts to nest again in a community where they have already been lost. Urgent action is needed if we are to keep nesting swifts in Yatton and Congresbury.
What is the YACWAG Swift Project about?
We want to give swifts the best possible chance to survive and thrive in our local area by:
How can I take action to help swifts?
Our partners Nailsea Shedders and their fantastic volunteer team have constructed 20 swift boxes to be installed in areas of Yatton and Congresbury where there are already nesting swifts, to help support swift colonies. We are focusing on areas close to where swifts already nest:
Yatton: Derham Park and Derham Close; Barberry Farm Road and northern part of Stowey Road; Wakedean Gardens; Heathgate; Cadbury Farm Road
Congresbury: Wrington Lane; The Causeway
Anyone can be a Swift Champion! There are lots of other ways you can help swifts, including:
By gardening with wildlife in mind, you can look after the flying insects that the swifts feed on. Flying insects are thought to have declined by 76% since 1990. YACWAG has plenty of wildlife-friendly gardening tips to get you started.
Amazing swift facts