Swifts & Us: The Life of the Bird that Sleeps in the Sky

Swift (Roger Wyatt)

Huge congratulations to our Communications Officer, Sarah Gibson on the publication of her first book, Swifts and Us. Here, Sarah explains a little about why she wrote the book and the challenges these birds face each year when returning to the UK.

“When people hear the astonishing story of the swift’s aerial life, and how their numbers are plummeting, they want to do something to help them.” That is what I heard from a keen swift conservationist and why I decided to write my book.

Swifts live almost entirely in the air. They eat, drink, sleep, mate and gather their nesting materials on the wing, fly thousands of miles across the world, navigating their way around storms and depressions, never lighting on tree, cliff or ground, then back to the same hole under the eaves, which their sharp-clawed feet shuffled over the previous year.

Swift

Swift (c) Stephen Barlow

Each summer they bring us three months’ joy, scything over the rooftops in screaming groups, stirring wonder and excitement in those that notice them.

Fast-dwindling insect populations, along with widespread loss of nesting holes are likely causes of the 57% decline in breeding numbers in the UK over the last 20 years.

Often unintentionally, we are sealing our homes against wildlife of any kind. Cracks, gaps and crevices which for thousands of years have offered nesting space in buildings, are being closed off, while new housing rarely offers entry holes for nesting birds.

Swifts and Us

Swifts and Us, by Sarah Gibson

The stories of people in the UK and across Europe striving to ensure a future for swifts are woven into the narrative, demonstrating how change is brought about by passionate, determined individuals, whose actions show that everyone can do something to keep these superb birds screaming through our skies.

Swifts and Us written by Shropshire Wildlife Trust's Communications Officer Sarah Gibson and published by William Collins is available to purchase from the 13th May from your local bookshop and online.

Sarah Gibson

Sarah Gibson with her book, Swifts and Us

Sarah Gibson

Communications Officer at Shropshire Wildlife Trust

Watch an online talk about Swifts by Sarah.