Local communities rally to Save our Suffolk Swifts

Saturday 9th May 2015

My Wild Life is a weekly column running each Saturday throughout 2015 in the East Anglian Daily Times. Each week it features stories of action for local wildlife

By Kerry Stranix, Suffolk Wildlife Trust

I’m still waiting for the swifts to return to the skies of my neighbourhood. I had a bet with my husband that they would return over the bank holiday weekend – they didn’t. They nest under the pantiles of the newsagent’s roof at the end of the road, I hope they return this year.

The sad truth is that we are seeing fewer swifts in our skies. This amazing bird, synonymous with summer - filling the skies in our towns and villages with piercing screams and aerial acrobatics is in decline. It’s likely there are several reasons for this – including loss of nesting habitat as we continue to block up the entrances to their nest sites. It’s frustrating that this is the case as they are perfect house guests. They leave no mess and are extremely quiet. I would certainly be honoured to have them nesting in my house.

I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in a campaign called SOS Swifts (Save our Suffolk Swifts) for the past couple of years. This is a partnership project with Suffolk Wildlife Trust and Suffolk Ornithologists’ Group and we are working to raise the profile of the plight of swifts and to gather information about where they are across the county.

I’ve been inspired by the locally led initiatives that are happening in Suffolk and further afield, such as All Saints Church in Worlingham where nesting boxes and calls played over a loudspeaker and are encouraging the birds to breed. They’ve even set up cameras inside the boxes to monitor their progress. In St Peter and St Mary’s Church in the centre of Stowmarket, nest boxes and calls are also being used - with the hope they will use the site to nest this year.

Over the coming months SOS Swifts is holding events where you can come and find out a bit more about the species from local and national experts as well as hopefully seeing them in action at the chosen venues. More information about these events is below. You can also find out more at www.suffolkwildifetrust.org/swifts

I’ll continue to wait for the swifts to return to my neighbourhood – I hope by the time this column is published they will be here…

SOS Swifts and many of the projects featured in this column have received support from the Heritage Lottery Funded Networking Nature initiative.


If you’d like your local wildlife project featured here please get in touch with kerry.stranix@suffolkwildlifetrust.org

Swift events in 2015:

Thursday 2 July from 7pm

Illustrated talk and swift viewing at Lower Layham village hall and St Andrew's Church, IP7 5HD.

This event is free but please book at suffolkwildlifetrust.org/swifts


Monday 13 July from 7pm

Illustrated talk and swift viewing at Blaxhall Village Hall and St Peter's Church.



Friday 17 July from 6pm

Swift fest at All Saints Church, Worlington, IP28 8SG.

Visit this shining example of swift conservation and hear from national swift experts Dick Newel of Action for Swifts and Edward Mayer of Swift Conservation. Free.


Thursday 5 November from 7.30pm

Swifts: Problems and Opportunities, Illustrated talk by Dick Newell of Action for Swifts.

Holiday Inn, London Road, Ipswich, IP2 0UA. £2.


Tagged with: Volunteering, Heritage Lottery Fund, My Wild Life