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A Truly Amazing Bird!

  • When it's not on the nest, a swift is always in the air.  It feeds in the air, sometimes mates in the air and sleeps in the air

  • The young swifts fly from the nest and won't land for   3 - 4 years until they breed.

  • They seem to bathe by flying relatively slowly through falling rain

  • They hunt at 25mph but have been measured at speeds of up to 67.5 mph

  • They can hold up to 1000 insects in their throat pouch to feed to their young

  • Most small birds live only 3 - 4 years. Swifts can live up to 20 years.

  • Swifts can’t feed in the rain so they fly around wet weather – sometimes as far away as Germany.

  • Unlike many birds, the siblings do not necessarily leave together – each goes in its own time, when it’s ready. And it may well head off to Africa almost straight away

For More in Depth Info. on Swifts


Swifts in a Tower | NHBS Good Reads

First published in 1956, Swifts in a Tower still offers astonishing insights into swifts' private lives along with thoughts about their life style and wider issues.

Salsbury swifts new 2.jpg

We are losing our Swifts fast! 

Why? There are two obvious causes.

1. Loss of nest sites. 

This is probably the main cause of swift decline.
Swifts nest primarily in buildings – under roofs or in walls. Due to major refurbishment of social housing, demolition of old buildings and new builds without any access to nesting birds we no longer offer a space for these birds to breed and numbers have declined in line with these trends. If you have nesting Swifts we urge you not to block the nest entrances. 

2. Insecticides. 

Most of the UK's arable land is sprayed with insecticides several times a year. Populations of some insects, which Swifts eat, are declining fast as a result of this. We can all help this directly by not using chemicals when gardening and also by buying organic food as much as we can. 

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