Swifts live almost entirely in the air. They eat, drink, sleep, mate and gather their nesting materials on the wing, fly thousands of miles across the world, navigating their way around storms, never lighting on tree, cliff or ground, until they return home with the summer.
Sarah Gibson has written a fascinating story of discovery, exploring what is known about these mysterious birds, their ancient ancestry and how they have been regarded through history. But the swifts are in real danger: often unintentionally, we are sealing our homes against wildlife of any kind. Cracks, gaps and crevices which for thousands of years have offered nesting space in buildings, are being closed off, while new housing rarely offers entry holes for nesting birds. Loss of breeding places is considered to be a significant factor in the steep decline of these birds over the last twenty years.
Thankfully, there are people in the UK and across Europe striving to ensure a future for swifts. Their actions and stories are woven into the narrative, demonstrating how change is brought about by passionate, determined individuals, whose actions show that everyone can do something to keep these superb birds screaming through our skies.
About the Author
Sarah Gibson works for Shropshire Wildlife Trust, an environmental charity, as Press Officer as well as Editor of the members' magazine. She also frequently writes nature note columns for local magazines and newspapers.Sarah has travelled across Europe watching swifts and meeting experts and key researchers along the way. She organises swift walks in her home town, advocates for awareness of their plight and wills them to take up residence in the boxes she has put up for them around her house.