I’ve written before about the flock of swifts (or ‘scream’ to give it the correct title) that arrive annually in my part of Maidenhead as last year, they came about a month early and I wondered if this was a sign of climate change.
This year, they were almost right on schedule and I’ve been eagerly trying to encourage them to roost in the new swift house I had installed.
I still can’t definitely say that they’ve found the two-bed ‘hotel’ that a nice chap called Bob installed for them, but one thing I can definitely say is that I have never known them so active around my house before.
How these amazing birds behave seems to depend on the weather somewhat, so I’ve always seen this as a kind of natural barometer.
When the sun is out and the ground is warmed, they can just about be seen high up in the atmosphere, which suggests that the insects they feed on are also at a high altitude.
Towards the end of the day, when things are cooling down, they fly much closer to the ground, and this is when they provide incredible entertainment – like some kind of dog fight going on purely for my amusement!
And the noise. No wonder they are called a scream! We have about 10 to 20 of them at my end of the street, and more at the other end, although they are really difficult to count as they move so fast.