I'd never have thought I would ever actually hold a swift but in the last five years I've held these two, which I took to the Wildlife Hospital.
So here's what to do if you find one - either young with a white face like these, even younger as in the photo below, or an adult.
The basic is:
Swifts can't take off from the ground because their wings are too long and their legs too short to give them the necessary thrust. So if you find one that looks as if it's strong enough to fly, hold it out at head height on open palms, give it time to think and if it can, it will. DO NOT throw it into the air.
If it can't or is too small, follow the advice in this leaflet (it's written for vets but works for us) and take it to our local Wiltshire Wildlife Hospital at Newton Tony - SP4 0HW. They take in anything up to 20 swifts a year, some as tiny as this one, and nurture them till they're big and strong enough to join the migration back to Africa.
Call 07850 778752 first for advice, but they're open 24 hours for patients. If you can't take it yourself or find a friend who can, don't hesitate to call me, Elizabeth, on 07831 253616 - I know the way!
Photo: Avocets (Izzy Fry)
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