Looking at the swift

Looking at the swift


Posted 18th Mar 2016


Following our story on the potential arrival of swifts in the garden, we've spoken to the RSPB who have provided us with some of our brilliant facts about the bird

1 Swifts are some of the last spring migrants to arrive in the UK, but are amongst the first to leave. Arriving in April, they'll depart our shores in August, embarking on a 6,000 mile journey as they fly from Africa to the UK to nest and raise their chicks. During this journey, they don't touch the ground, both eating and sleeping whilst in flight.

2 A swift's diet will be made up of insects such as flies, mosquitoes and midges. They then collect the insects by making a ball of food in their throat, which can contain up to 1,000 insects. Parents will gather up to 100,000 insects a day, to feed chicks as many times a day as they're needed.

3 Swifts then make a stunning display throughout the summer months and it is their screaming call which signals that summer is on the horizon, usually in late April or early May.

4 Flying an average of 800 km each day (that's roughly 500 miles), and nearly 2 million km (that's over an astonishing 1.2 million miles) in their lifetime - this is the equivalent of more than four trips to the Moon and back!

5 Swifts make their nests minimally, from items that are collected in the air, such as feathers, paper, straw, hay and seeds. This is then cemented together with saliva and used to construct nests in open eaves, under loose roof tiles and in holes in the wall. Once chicks are fledged, most of the nest is disposed of by invertebrates, and any that remains is left will be reused each year.

Information courtesy of the RSPB.

Image courtesy of Getty / Picture Press / Willi Rolfes





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