Swift in flight © Tom LindroosWe are a voluntary and informal group of enthusiasts who want to ensure that these amazing summer visitors continue to return here.  All are welcome to join in – you don’t need to be a swift expert – to find out more, contact: ta.hoare@btinternet.com  / 01539 824043 or visit the Sedbergh Community Swifts Facebook page.

Scroll down this page for more information about swifts and how you can help.

Our aims are:  to survey Sedbergh, Dent and district for swift nesting places, to protect existing nest sites, and to promote putting up special nest boxes and bricks.  We give talks to raise awareness of the threats to swifts and what can be done.

How can you help?

  • Help us monitor swift nest sites and look out for more.
  • Tell us if you know of properties where swifts are nesting.
  • Put up swift boxes – modern houses are suitable too – we are happy to advise and help.

About swifts

  • Swifts come from Africa for just 3 months, May to early August, to breed. This is the only time they land.
  • They eat thousands of insects a day, including troublesome gnats and midges.
  • Swifts are reliant on buildings for nest sites, in the eaves and crevices of old properties.
  • They are faithful to their nest site, returning to the same place year after year.
  • Swifts are not messy birds (unlike swallows and house martins!). They cause no damage and do not enter the loft or roof space of a building itself.
  • But they are in trouble! If the entrance holes get blocked up when repairs are done, they become homeless. Modern houses, with smooth walls, offer no nesting opportunities.
  • Swifts are  endangered: they are red-listed, having declined by 57% in the last 25 years due to loss of nesting places.

What’s the difference?

picture of a swallow in flightPIcture of a house martin in flightSwallows and house martins look similar but are not related. They have white patches whereas swifts are all dark, larger, with longer scythe-shaped wings.

Unlike swallows, swifts cannot perch (they have very tiny legs) so a bird on a wire is never a swift.

picture of a swift in flightAlso, swifts are never seen on the nest since they are hidden. Swallow and martin nests can be seen: swallows build nests on beams or ledges in outbuildings, and martins have cup-shaped mud nests outside houses under the eaves.

For more information go to: www.swift-conservation.org or actionforswifts.blogspot.co.uk