“So, what do we do? We start by recognising what’s happening on our watch. We put up boxes. We allow our lawns to grow out until July and see wildflowers take hold. We stop using garden pesticides, felling trees and clearing insect habitat.” [Henry Porter, Guardian]
There have been concerns for some time now about the decline of swift numbers in Britain – and suggestions on how to help them: How will you welcome swifts back this summer? – Vision Group for Sidmouth and Campaign to change the law to ensure every new house has ‘Swift Bricks’ – Vision Group for Sidmouth
The decline in numbers seems to be continuing – but, again, there are suggestions on how we might help them to recover – as reported in the latest Observer:
It’s not as if there aren’t numerous swift groups around the country trying to support the bird with breeding boxes, and inserting swift bricks into walls. Yet these are useless without abundant supplies of insects, and that is where the crisis mostly lies.
So, what do we do? We start by recognising what’s happening on our watch. We put up boxes. We allow our lawns to grow out until July and see wildflowers take hold. We stop using garden pesticides, felling trees and clearing insect habitat. We compel water companies to stop polluting. We form groups and interrogate local farmers about the pesticides they’re using. We show our children, maybe with a cheap magnifying glass, the wonder of a bronze beetle or a red soldier beetle crawling across the lace work of a hemlock flower. Nature is not something separate. It’s not a resource. It is us, our world. Concentrate!
And so, there are efforts happening now: Electricity line workers install swift nest boxes in Warnham | SussexWorld and How artificial nesting is reviving Isle of Wight swifts: Local success story
Meanwhile in North Devon, awards have been handed out, including to those engaged in efforts to help the swift:
South Molton Save our Swifts who have invited the South Molton community to get involved in the preservation of swifts in the town, by erecting their custom-made swift boxes on eaves. The boxes are either flat topped or sloped according to the site and are sold for £15 each with free installation, if required. Over 100 boxes are now in place in the town. They keep the public informed by putting regular reports in the local monthly magazines and newspapers. Biosphere Nature Awards – Celebrating the Pledge for Nature Project
And how are swifts doing in East Devon – and in the Sid Valley?
The Swift Mapper shows which sightings have been recorded: Swift Mapper
In the meantime, there are some interesting sightings recorded here: Bristol Swifts Blog 2015 – Bristol Swifts
And to finish, a personal view: Can you tell the difference between swifts, swallows and martins? | Sidmouth Herald