And it's just as well that swifts are so good at flying, as they spend almost all their lives on the wing, feeding on flying insects – and even sleeping in the air, using warm air currents to spiral high into the sky. The short nesting season is the only time they land.
Struggle to find homes
But for many swifts, the chance to nest and lay their eggs will be thwarted. Our buildings are changing. Until recently, swifts would have made their homes under eaves – but now the spaces we used to leave for them are gone. Modern buildings lack the nooks and crannies they need, and swifts are struggling to find homes.
So these fantastic birds are now vanishing from our summer skies. Sadly, their numbers have declined by half in just 20 years.
Fortunately, though, there are ways to help them. There are special swift nestboxes available, and if you're having a building constructed or renovated, there's also the option of the 'swift brick'. This replaces a standard house brick and can easily be installed by a builder. Swift nestboxes and swift bricks can work especially well when put up in groups – swifts like to be near other swifts.