The sound of screaming swifts is one of THE sounds of summer. We are blessed to have swifts, swallows and house martins in Aldbourne with the luckiest of us having nests on our houses. While swifts are not related to swallows and martins these species share a mastery of flight, an insectivorous diet and a migratory lifestyle. They all have a similar flight profile but with a bit of practice they can be easily separated on appearance, call and nesting habits.
Sadly all three birds are in chronic decline, mainly due to the loss of suitable nesting sites. We would love hear of the location and number of active nests (both natural and in nest boxes), in the Aldbourne parish so that we can monitor how they are fairing locally. All three species are site faithful returning to the same locations to breed each year so this provides a great opportunity to get to know our local wildlife a little better.
All three species will readily nest in artificial nests and putting these up on your properties is a great way to help these amazing but threatened species. However, do not be disheartened if house sparrows take up residence in a nestbox – while sparrows might seem boring they have undergone a catastrophic decline in the last few decades and are a red-listed species, we are lucky to have them and if your house martin or swift box helps to preserve house sparrows for future generations then you should be proud!