Injured Swifts – 24 hour helpline
If you find a Swift on the ground, do give us a call (07762 300050 or 01728 454585) at any time to get some advice. Sometimes adults can be brought down by strong winds and heavy rain and often just an overnight rest will see them on their way. Helping chicks is a very different story though.
But here’s the golden rule in all cases – get it out of harm’s way quickly then give us a call. If it is an adult brought down in heavy rain we may be able to guide you on what to do in order to maximise the chances of a safe release, particularly if there isn’t a carer local to you. If you find a chick on the ground, then the same golden rule applies but you will need to get it to a professional carer.
If you find a fallen Swift… Don’t throw it in the air! Don’t feed it! Don’t delay!
- Gently put it in a quiet, warm, safe, calm & clean environment – a ventilated cardboard box (like a shoe box) is ideal, on a tea towel or similar, then put it somewhere well away from any disturbance.
- If the Swift is calm, try giving it some water by running a wetted cotton bud around the edge of the beak carefully avoiding the nostrils on top of the beak. Don’t worry if you don’t feel confident to do this.
- Then call us.
Please don’t “do it yourself” as it is high-risk, very difficult, expensive and time consuming & it is illegal to keep wild birds in captivity unless you can convince the authorities you can care for them competently & will release them back into the wild a.s.a.p. Feeding it the wrong food for any period of time could be fatal.
A list of carers can be found at: https://www.swift-conservation.org/SwiftFirstAid.htm
Swifts are urban dwellers and the best place to site a box is where there is an existing group of Swifts. It is very difficult to attract them to a new location.
Here is one example of a nest box that is suitable for most locations. Ideally it should be on a north facing wall, about 5m high and with a clear flying area in front. This particular box is suitable for more exposed locations (east and west facing) due to its insulated roof. Whilst it’s not out of the question to put one on a south facing wall, the boxes can get very hot inside so it is best to avoid this aspect if possible.
If you have overhanging eaves a flat topped box is suitable but do ensure that it is tucked right up under the eaves to stop other birds perching or even nesting on the top. The RSPB sell these.
There are several models on the market so if you live in or around Aldeburgh and would like advice on the most suitable type for your house do give us a call – see contact details on our home page. If your property is suitable, we can also arrange installation.
And bear in mind that Swifts love living in colonies so putting up more than one box can be beneficial.