Speaking Up For Swifts


Swifts, as noted by the RSPB, are a declining bird species. They take annual residence in the UK for several months at a time having migrated from central Africa. Swifts migrate in order to raise their young in an environment where the right food is available. If you follow the RSPB, you may have an existing awareness of the latest bird-related news. However, speaking up for swifts in the latest challenges facing the bird population is central to this week’s blog.

To fill you in, earlier this month, there was an opportunity for DEFRA Ministers (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) to act in the interest of swifts in response to The Feather Speech Campaign. The campaign called on the government to protect swifts by making ‘swift bricks’ compulsory to new housing in the UK. Despite compelling arguments suggesting that swift bricks could transform the lives of swifts for the better, the bill was not passed. This is why this conversation is imperative to the future of swifts (and to other bird species currently in decline).

#TheFeatherSpeech is the campaign leading the way for swift advocacy. Driven by author, Hannah Bourne-Taylor, alongside the RSPB and Rewriting Extinction, #TheFeatherSpeech is, ultimately, an urgent call for action in the interest of swifts. Though the dream was that there would be enough demand for legislation – the campaign lives on. Therefore, it is now up to us to make space for change within our local communities.

Why Should We Take Action?

Swifts have become a shadow of their former selves – their presence notably missed year upon year. Despite being blessed with a plentiful presence of bird life, we too have noticed their steady decline over the past 10 years or so. However, you may be wondering why collectively we should be concerned about a decline in bird species, particularly those that have already been red-listed as a cause for concern? If so – listen up!

Swifts are magnificent birds – there is no disputing that! From their distinctive shape as they take to the sky, impressive flight patterns, and clocking up to 4 million airborne miles each year – swifts are one of a kind. If these qualities aren’t enough to make you fall in love with swifts – then perhaps you’ll be more motivated by what they can do for you. Bird life, as a whole, is imperative to our ecosystem – the very thing that facilitates our place here. Without balance and conservation, we will begin to see a decline in biodiversity, and an increased instability of the environment. We are already aware that these are challenging times for the world that we live in – it is imperative that we act swiftly to protect bird life internationally.

This week, World Conservation Day will be marked internationally – opening a conversation around conservation for the protection of nature and biodiversity. While legislation has been put aside for now, there is still a sense that action is required. The Sign Maker directors, Kate and Shaun, have always been passionate about advocating for bird life. Consequently, we are not only speaking up for swifts today – but for the future of our beloved birds.

Five Ways To ‘Speak Up For Swifts’

  1. Despite being keen advocates for the world around us – we would encourage looking at resources beyond us. From the RSPB and Hannah Bourne-Taylor herself to the Wildlife Trust and local groups – there are an abundance of ways to further educate yourself on The Feathered Speech, and to get involved.
  2. Consider how you can make your outdoor space swift friendly and biodiverse. Think, for example, about whether you could install a swift box! Alternatively, you could choose to provide food and water supplies, or grow out areas of your garden!
  3. If you’re a business, particularly in the construction industry, consider making a commitment to the inclusion of swift bricks. While this is not in legislation, we all have a responsibility for the environment around us.
  4. Take action in nesting season. If you believe a local family of swifts is under threat – make it your responsibility to report it and ensure the protection of your local swifts.
  5. Speak up for swifts! You can do this on social media, via your local MP or amongst those around you. Keeping the conversation going is just as important.

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