First Swift Releases of the Year

East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service (WRAS) has released its first swift back to the wild this year and have a further seven youngsters which are being successfully rehabilitated and hopefully returned to the wild soon.

At the weekend members of WRAS’s Care Team took the first swift up onto the Down above Lewes to release it back to the wild not far from where it was originally found.

Swifts are very active at the moment in East Sussex and can often be seen swooping through the area gathering insects to feel their young. Swift are only present in UK for around 3 months, here in East Sussex they can be present for slightly longer as they feed up before migration down to Africa.

The RSPB estimate there are only 59.000 breeding pairs in the UK and have an Amber UK Conservation Status. It is estimated that the UK has lost over half of its swifts in the last 20 years.

East Sussex WRAS is proud to help keep the local population alive. “These are magnificent birds, but are not the easiest of birds to look after, feed and hand rear, it takes a lot of time and patience. This swift was a youngster when it fell out of its nest onto the ground on 25th June in Lewes. It has taken a lot of hard work and round the clock care to get him up to strength and suitable for release. We have 7 other swifts in care at the moment and all are doing well and it won’t be long before some of those are ready to go back to the wild too”
explained Katie Nunn Nash, Lead Casualty Manager at East Sussex WRAS.

If you find a swift on the ground please follow the following advice:

1) Don’t throw it in the air – they can take off from the ground – so could be injured or too young.
2) Call a rescue – do not delay doing so – do not try and care for the swift yourself.
3) Don’t feed it unless a swift rescue advises you to do so and you have the correct food.
4) Put your swift in a quiet, warm, safe, calm and clean environment – a ventilated show box is ideal.
5) Weigh the bird and take a photo if you can, send this to a registered swift rescue when asked.
6) Give it water by running a wetted cotton bud around the edge of the beak avoiding the nostrils.

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