Two experts in swift conservation are visiting Masham Town Hall on Friday, 15th March to speak at a public meeting organised by the Mashamshire Swift Conservation Community Project. The meeting will start at 7pm and end around 9.30pm.
Carla McCowen, founder of the project in Masham, says “We have two excellent speakers for this meeting, Jonathan Pomroy and Edward Mayer. Jonathan lives near Helmsley and is an artist and author who is passionate about swifts. He will talk about his drawings and watercolours of swifts and will have signed copies of his new book ‘On Crescent Wings- a Portrait of the Swift’ for sale.”
“After the interval, when refreshments will be available, we will have one of the world’s top experts on swifts, Edward Mayer, who is involved with swift projects everywhere. He runs Swift Conservation UK and knows just about everything that there is to know about swifts.”
“We hope that everyone who is interested in wildlife, and in preserving these extraordinary and threatened birds, will come along to listen and be inspired by these two enthusiastic and expert speakers. Then you can spread the news and find out how to get involved in the Mashamshire Swift Project.”
There has been a 50% drop in the number of swifts visiting the area over the last 25 years, partly due to a loss of nesting sites as old buildings are demolished or renovated. The holes in the eaves which swifts prefer to nest in are being filled in. This can be relatively easily addressed by installing swift bricks in new builds and renovations, or by putting up swift nest boxes on the outside of existing buildings. If a pair of swifts returns from Africa to the UK in early May and find their nest site has gone, they are likely to give up with breeding and return early.
The Masham project was started about 18 months ago and succeeded in getting over 50 nest boxes put up ready for the swifts last summer. It is hoped that they will attract breeding pairs this summer after last years immature birds (or ‘bangers’ as they are called) return having prospected the new nest sites last year. Young swifts are on the wing day and night for a few years before they begin breeding and return to look for a nest site close to where they were reared.