Herts ecologist and conservationist Jenny Sherwen has recently set up a Hertford Swift Group. Read about it below including details of their first Hertford Swift Walk on Tuesday 16th July:
Do you love watching screaming swifts over our town? Perhaps you’ve seen these birds but you’d like to know more about them
Join us on our first Hertford Swift walk on Tuesday 16th July
Meet at 8pm at the Stag, Parliament Square. We hope to see you there!
Swift photo © Andy Johnson
The sound of screaming swifts flying aerobatics in their social groups is the sight and soundtrack to our summer. We want to make sure we can do all we can to ensure they continue to share our skies. Swifts fly all the way from Africa to breed and are only with us for a mere 100 days, much shorter than swallows and martins. These incredible birds will leave the nest, keep flying non-stop and barely touch land until they breed at around 4 years of age. They feed, sleep and even mate on the wing.
Our swifts are in decline and they need our help, they have decreased by 53% between 1995 and 2016. They are amber listed in the UK and the loss of nest sites is thought to be one of the main reasons they are in decline. They nest in small crevices in tall buildings and are very clean so make good house guests. A lot of new development in recent years has involved insulating our roofs and therefore there are not the spaces that swifts used to use.
It is easy to help. If you have swifts near you, you can put up swift boxes on your house. These are relatively cheap. We can help you order swift boxes and advise on where to put them up!