Why do we need a swift survey in Derbyshire?
There is increasing national and international concern about loss of swift nest sites leads to an increasing desire to do something about it.
Very little survey of swift colonies has taken place so far - the reason may be that "twitchers" prefer to twitch in the countryside and not around the housing estates.
- Aim: To obtain sufficient information for the purposes of protecting and creating swift nest habitat. thus:-
To establish the locations of nesting colonies .
- To obtain some indication of sizes of colonies
To identify the type of structure they are nesting in and the significant location within that structure - i.e. whether the critical place is under the eaves or soffit, under roof tiles or holes in the fabric of the building.
To identify any threats which the swift colonies may encounter in the near future.
Where to look?
Swifts may be found anywhere where there are buildings. There are several myths about swift nests - one is that they always nest in towers, another that they always nest in old buildings. They do not have our perceptions about buildings, and will nest anywhere where they find a suitable cavity accessed by a suitable hole. If surveyors do not go into housing estates to look for swifts, they won't see them there.
When to look?
It is generally found that swifts are most visibly active around 8.30 - 9.30 in the morning, around mid-day and from 9 - 9.30 until dark time in the evening. The most prolonged displays are usually in the evenings, and activity increases as the season progresses. So this is the most reliable time to go out…BUT swifts only party in good weather.
What to record?
Fill in the swift nest survey form with the following information:
- date you recorded them
• Number of house and street name/names or building name (e.g. Crusty Castle) and the style of building and or grid reference - 6 or 8 figure grid ref
• Town or village name.
• The number you saw or approximate number ( e.g. 8 - 12 or 30/40). It is not always easy to count them.
• Any nest sites you do see and any comment of interest.
- Location of nest site – height, aspect and description with a sketch for clarification.
• It is important also to record places where they used to be, either from your own memory or from anecdotal evidence, as there are very few existing records of swift colonies.
Please remember to send also your name and address - e-mail identification does not always give this.
What will the information be used for?
There are concerns over the decline in swift colonies in the county. This survey will provide information on population sizes and locations of population as well as a baseline of information to monitor against in the future.
If at the end of the survey there is sufficient information to suggest that there is a need for a Species Action Plan for swifts one will be drawn up by the Biodiversity Project Officer in consultation with the DOS amongst others.
Some of the swift colonies may be at risk with future building work being planned at their nest sites, especially in large warehouses and mill buildings where there is a current trend of renovation. The project could also aim to provide data on swift colonies to planning officers and building owners who will then be able to make informed decisions about renovation works that effect swift colonies. Several tried and tested methods of working around swift colonies have been worked up in other parts of the country.
Download the Survey Form .... right-click link belowand choose"Save Target As", and save the form to your computer.
Derbyshire Ornithological Society has produced a information sheet for house and property owners with swifts.
To download the information sheet.... right-click link belowand choose"Save Target As", and save to your computer.