I have just returned from leading a guided swift walk in Blairgowrie, which is still a great place to see swifts. We managed to find screaming parties where the birds were hurtling around space at high speed, coming close enough to us so we could feel the draught they created, and hear their wings flapping stiffly. We were lucky enough to see one zip into its nest site underneath a gutter - which took place so quickly that you would have missed it if blinking.
Swift numbers in Scotland have dropped by over 60% in the last 15 years or so, with loss of nest sites being one of the main reasons. Swifts nest in small gaps in stonework including behind down pipes and underneath guttering; they are loyal to the same nest site and return there year after year with the same mate. As older buildings are refurbished then these small gaps are usually filled in and the swifts lose their nest sites.
Perthshire Wildlife is working on two swift conservation projects over the summer - one in Kirriemuir and one in Strathearn (Comrie, Crieff & Auchterarder) to help raise awareness of what is happening to swifts, work with communities to carry out surveys to find out where the birds are nesting and to find good locations for nestboxes. We are running a number of guided walks which are free - please come along to find out more about these wonderful birds.
Details are at www.perthshirewildlife.co.uk/events