Swifts leaving the UK early

Swifts are flying back to Africa early, seeking the warmer climate.

Published: July 27th, 2012 at 9:59 am

This years poor spring weather has caused the swift population to head back to Africa early, instead of heading back late summer or early autumn as they usually do. Swifts annually fly 22,000 kilometres back to Africa where they spend the winter months in the warmer climate.
The UK has had the wettest April to June on record, which has meant fewer flying insects for the swifts and their chicks to eat, leading to the birds pushing un-hatched eggs out of their nests as they would not be able to provide sufficient food for their chicks.
Though we may finally be enjoying some warmer weather, it has come too late for the swifts.
Many of the birds are also finding it increasingly difficult to find nesting sites due to renovations of old buildings, and many new homes are built with no locations for new nests.
Martin Harper, conservation director for the RSPB, said: “The right choices needed to be made when building and developing so that swifts were not left homeless.”
The birds have been struggling in recent years, with numbers falling by 31% between 1995 and 2009, and conservationists say they expect to see falls in the breeding figures for this year.
The RSPB are urging people to submit details of swift calls, sightings or nests here in order to help people and authorities do the best they can in sustainable building or renovating so that hopefully next time, the swifts won’t leave the UK so early.



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