With the arrival of his annual visitors from Africa, Russell Jones has been screaming out of his bedroom window.

If you’ve read any of my previous blog posts, you’ll know that my neighbourhood is lucky enough to be visited by a ‘scream’ of swifts every year and also that I love watching these fascinating little birds bombing up and down the road screeching loudly and filling the air with an amazing aerial acrobatics display.

I’ve lived here for over 20 years now and I would have previously said that you could set your calendar on their arrival every year, on or around the 14th of May – This year they arrived on the 12th.

In 2017 though, they came almost a month early which got me thinking about the impact of climate change on our wildlife and made me question whether their early arrival was a sign that nature was having to adapt.

Hopefully a couple of them will use it and once found, it is highly likely to be used every year from now on.

Russell Jones Russell Jones Content and Communications Manager

Inconclusive

The fact that they now seem to be back on track in terms of arrival time could mean that last year was a one-off, or that their journey was affected by other factors (El Nino?).

Or it could mean that the consequences of climate change are simply unpredictable and will not run to a smooth plan that we can see and mitigate for.

Regardless of that, I’m delighted that they are back and my challenge now is to encourage them to nest in the purpose-built house I had installed last year, which is why I’ve been ‘screaming’ out of my bedroom window.

Rooms available

If you read my previous post about getting a twin-bed, swift house installed at the very reasonable cost of £40 complete with fitting, you’ll know why I went to the trouble.

Like a lot of the wildlife around us, modernisation of the urban environment is removing the nooks and crevices that birds such as swifts rely on.

It’s therefore important to find replacements for these nesting holes if we wish to continue to encourage these migrants to honour us with their presence each year.

There is astounding nature all around us and we are all guilty of taking it for granted.  That’s why we have seen a significant drop in the number of sparrows in our towns as we have ignored the environments they need to survive.

So, how does this lead to ‘me’ screaming out of the bedroom window?

Thank goodness for Spotify

Well, it’s not actually me doing the screaming of course.

I simply found a recording of swift sounds on Spotify and am playing this on a loop through a speaker placed on the bedroom windowsill.

The reason is simple. I could put up all the swift houses I like but if they don’t know they are there, they will ignore them and my efforts (and that of Bob from the Maidenhead, Marlow and Cookham swift group) will have been for nothing.

I have to attract them and let them know there are rooms available, which is why I’m broadcasting calls from a speaker as near to the box as possible.

Hopefully a couple of them will use it and once found, it is highly likely to be used every year from now on.

I’ll keep you posted on whether I get any temporary ‘lodgers’ but whether it happens this year or next, I’m really looking forward to sitting back in the deckchair and watching the colony of 30-40 swifts zoom and scream around the sky at incredible speeds of 70mph or more as they chase their dinner.

Russell Jones is Content and Marketing Communications Manager for Mitsubishi Electric Living Environment Systems in the UK