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04 Nov 2011
Swifts are extraordinary birds, flying non-stop outside the breeding season and spending up to 9 months without landing at all! They are fast and noisy and a sure sign of summer.
But since 1994 over half of the entire Swift population in South East England has been lost. This is likely to be the result of complex and interlinking factors both here and in their wintering grounds but is perhaps above all a consequence of the loss of safe and accessible nesting sites.
Image Amir Ben Dov
Gift to Nature (a conservation scheme run by Natural Enterprise for the Island 2000 Trust) working with the Isle of Wight Biodiversity Action Partnership has been tracking down the real hotspots of swift activity on the Island during the summer of 2011, the places where these birds congregate in Island towns and villages; the places where they are most likely to stay and breed. Given this information it will be possible to not only conserve nest sites for the future but also to create complementary new sites through the use of special nest boxes on existing buildings and swift-friendly designs in new buildings and redevelopments.
The results from this year are in and already giving essential direction to swift conservation plans. The survey will run again from May 2012 so keep a close eye on our websites for the latest updates.