Julien Crowther from Stroud Swift Group, a group of volunteers working with Stroud Valleys Project , talks about the work they are doing.
There are few sounds more evocative of summer than the screaming call of the swift, as they fly together in groups circling and swooping round buildings.
They fly in from Africa early in May and stay for only three months.
Yet in the last 20 years their numbers have reduced by half – they are in trouble.
Swifts nest in old buildings, under roofs and in holes under eaves – but their nest sites are disappearing as buildings are renovated and holes blocked up.
They are long-lived birds, pair for life and return to the same site year after year – only to find themselves homeless.
Stroud Swift Group was formed last year to try and raise awareness of the problem and to redress the balance.
We have started to survey existing nest sites, and encourage authorities to think of swifts when planning applications are granted.
Councils are getting the message – swift nest boxes are going up on the Sub Rooms during the renovations and they will be installed on Ebley Mill.
New buildings in many areas are using ‘swift bricks’ with an integral nest chamber.
Greg Pilley of Stroud Brewery has gone further – six nest boxes are up on the new building, and he has produced a special brew for the summer – a Swift Half.
Swift Awareness Week 2019 runs June 22 to 29.
We are organising two events – on Saturday, June 29, Edward Mayer of Action for Swifts will give a talk at the Congregational Hall in Bedford Street, starting at 2.30pm.
The talk is free, supported by a generous grant from Stroud Town Council but donations towards swift conservation will be welcome – and the talk will be followed by tea and homemade cakes.
There will also be time for questions and sample nest boxes will be on display.
The second event will be an early evening walk (weather permitting) around Nailsworth, meeting at the Britannia at 7pm, looking out for screaming parties and nest sites.
Volunteers from Stroud Valleys Project have made swift nest boxes which can be bought from the shop.
Please contact us at email@example.com for more information or to report nest sightings.