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Family of swifts wiped out in storm

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Old Thursday 11th June 2020, 13:48   #1
joelalor
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Family of swifts wiped out in storm

A family of swifts nesting in Dublin was wiped out in a recent thunderstorm - no more swifts left at the nesting site.

What are the chances of any swifts at the site next summer? Anything that can be done to encourage a new colony?
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Old Thursday 11th June 2020, 14:08   #2
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Swifts aren't colonial nesters are they?

You don't mean Sand Martins by any chance?
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Old Thursday 11th June 2020, 14:29   #3
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Yep, Swifts form small breeding colonies ie od wooden church spires. Some of the older Victorian properties in Maidenhead had several pairs inone roof space a few years back. Also modern nestbox schemes suggest several in a row.

See https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sour...FqZ_K3uaWaiquy
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Old Thursday 11th June 2020, 15:05   #4
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Some more links towards the end of this page. UK based, but some would probably be happy to advise on specifics.

https://www.cbwps.org.uk/cbwpsword/save-our-swifts/
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Old Thursday 11th June 2020, 16:11   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PYRTLE View Post
Yep, Swifts form small breeding colonies ie od wooden church spires. Some of the older Victorian properties in Maidenhead had several pairs inone roof space a few years back. Also modern nestbox schemes suggest several in a row.

See https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sour...FqZ_K3uaWaiquy
I wonder if it's lack of nesting oppurunities Pat because they're only ever in odd pairs around where I live, certainly no colonies.
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Old Thursday 11th June 2020, 19:44   #6
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I wonder if it's lack of nesting oppurunities Pat because they're only ever in odd pairs around where I live, certainly no colonies.
Not sure either Andy. Noticeable by their absence in our village this season. 1 site noted compared to several sites when I moved here 20 years ago.
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Old Saturday 13th June 2020, 21:26   #7
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Was there some storms in the Sahara that took out a lot this year during migration sure I remember reading something on that
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Old Sunday 14th June 2020, 09:21   #8
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I wonder if it's lack of nesting oppurunities Pat because they're only ever in odd pairs around where I live, certainly no colonies.
Swifts are attracted to look for nest sites by Swift calls, including the calls they make from inside the nest. If you put up nest boxes, the most reliable way to attract Swifts is by playing their calls as loud as possible from a speaker.
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Originally Posted by joelalor View Post
A family of swifts nesting in Dublin was wiped out in a recent thunderstorm - no more swifts left at the nesting site.
What are the chances of any swifts at the site next summer? Anything that can be done to encourage a new colony?
I'd say a combination of putting up nest boxes (unless there are already plenty of potential nest sites already) and playing calls to attract them. The key times are around the 2nd half of May when the non-breeders tend to return (breeding pairs return first to reclaim their nest site) and the 2nd half of July when the chicks fledge, although playing the calls should attract Swifts throughout the breeding season.
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Old Wednesday 17th June 2020, 12:10   #9
joelalor
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Thanks - there are old military buildings outside my window where they can nest, so I'll try broadcasting the calls next year.

Is it unusual that a summer storm would wipe out a family (of 3 in this case)?
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Old Wednesday 17th June 2020, 12:43   #10
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Thanks - there are old military buildings outside my window where they can nest, so I'll try broadcasting the calls next year.

Is it unusual that a summer storm would wipe out a family (of 3 in this case)?
Yes, unusual if you're talking about 2 adults and 1 chick. How did you establish the number and that they all perished? One of the adults should have been able to flee if a predator entered.
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Old Wednesday 17th June 2020, 14:46   #11
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There were 3 returnees to the nest in the roof in May (usually 6 or 7 in the colony) - they hunted together since the migration. In the few days before the storm last week, they were in and out from the roof constantly, I assume to keep chicks fed. Since the storm, they've been absent and there's been no flying to and from the nest.

There are other swifts in the locality - last evening, a dozen or so entertained us - but "our" family of 3 and their chicks must have persihed.
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