• Summerhouse65

Swifts at St mary's

Every year we keep our fingers crossed for the arrival of the first swifts. Sadly, over the years despite our best efforts of erecting swift nesting boxes, the numbers we see swooping and screeching around the steeple of St Mary's Church are declining. This is due in part to environmental issues and the loss of nesting sites in roofs.

Swifts don't make conventional nests in trees, the nest is located high up in the roof space under the eaves of old houses and churches where the birds are able to drop into the air from the nest entrance. The nest is built by both adults out of any material that can be gathered on the wing, including feathers, paper, straw, hay and seeds. It is cemented together with saliva, and renovated and reused year after year.

You can read more about this extraordinary bird here. If you are interested in recording swifts that you may see then you can download the RSPB swift mapper.

The noise of the swifts screaming around is such a sound of summer and we love to watch their acrobatics and mastery of flight.

Several years ago, a baby swift literally fell into our hydrangea bush unable to fly because he was so small. It was late in the season and the rest of his family had left him behind. We rescued him, our daughter named him Monty and we made a cross country dash complete with Monty in a shoebox to Gillian Westray's swift rescue centre. Gillian nursed him to a healthy weight and set him free to make the perilous journey back to Africa.

This year for Oxfordshire Art Weeks 2020 I exhibited on the virtual online festival several swift inspired drawings, embroidery and greetings cards.

My aim is to raise money for Gillian's swift rescue centre with every sale.

If you are interested in purchasing any of my greetings cards, please have a look at my Etsy shop or send me a message.

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