Swifts heading home after wet summer affects breedingBy Hugh Fort
August 01, 2012
Summer birds are on their way to warmer climes due to the good old British weather.
Flocks of swifts are heading back to their homeland of Africa after a terrible breeding season in Britain.
And the better weather is now too late for swifts to breed.
However, the RSPB wants to hear of any swift nests in Bracknell and the surrounding areas.
The birds are on the amber list of conservation concern, which means the charity is concerned about their declining numbers.
The bad weather has meant there are fewer flying insects for the birds and their chicks to feed on.
Edward Mayer, of Swift Conservation, says; “It has been a disastrous summer for many swifts and we fully expect to see a decline in the breeding figures this year.
“People are telling us that the number of swifts that arrived here several months ago was pretty consistent with last year, but after that they disappeared again as they flew away to wherever they could find food.
“We’ve seen adult birds struggling through storms and ending up underweight because the cold and wet weather has meant fewer flying insects for them to feed on.
“They are nesting, but as far as we can tell, without much success. Adults have even been pushing unhatched eggs out of their nests because they haven’t been able to feed themselves sufficiently, let alone incubate the eggs and feed young mouths too. The drier weather has unfortunately arrived too late for them.”
As well as the weather, the birds also face a lack of nesting sites.
They live in buildings, particularly in roofs, and modern buildings now mean they are often left homelesss.
Martin Harper, RSPB Conservation Director, says: “The last thing this struggling species needed was to be hit hard by the wet weather this year. But they are at the mercy of more than just a wet summer. Their ability to nest depends on our buildings having spaces for them.
“They fly as many as 6,000 miles each spring to get here from Africa to breed, only to find that changes in the way we’re building and renovating means there are fewer nest spaces. We need to make sure the right choices are made when building and developing so these birds aren’t left homeless.”
Anyone with nest information can visit www.rspb.org.uk/helpswifts.