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Edward Mayer’s talk

Edward Mayer gave a very enthusiastic talk on Swift conservation on 16th May at the Linklater Pavilion, in Lewes, where the meeting was well attended.  Edward started by showing the difference between Swallows, House Martins and Swifts and their different styles in building nests. Swifts do not build nests as such, but try and find a crevice in a wall, or under a slipped tile on a roof, or just under the eaves where they can perch just on the edge of bricks. Their idea of a nest is using saliva to stick grass or anything else they can catch whilst flying around. 

Edward went on to show us the damage done to Swift colonies and their breeding sites by roofs being renovated, new buildings being built without any possibility of access for Swifts to use the roof space.  He showed us slides where Swifts are encouraged to nest in other European countries and where they have taken to old buildings to breed in successful colonies.   His enthusiasm was to encourage everyone to help these birds which are here for such a short time from the end of April, and are gone by the beginning of August, and produce the wonderful sound of summer as they scream around their breeding areas during warm summer evenings. 

Swifts are essential if global warming increases and there is a possibility of more midges, and biting insects, even possibly mosquitoes, to be around during the summer months.  Their entire diet is hoovering up insects, so they do an incredible job of eating thousands and thousands of them during their stay with us.  

We can help in ensuring Swifts stay around our villages and towns by ensuring we can give them the ability to use wooden nest boxes put up near to existing colonies, getting developers to insert Swift Bricks into new buildings when they are being planned and built, or enabling Schwegler “Swift bricks” and the like to be inserted into walls whever possible.   To get an overview of all these ideas please take a look at and help to conserve our precious Swifts.

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