Country diary: are all our swifts out for the count?

Buxton, Derbyshire: Custom-built nest boxes have been erected around the town. We see if that’s made a difference

The station car park on the town’s busiest road must be the least discreet place to go birding. But how else can you monitor common swifts, given that they nest only in domestic rooftops? The station just happens to have the best panorama over their breeding habitat.

As we stood here five other groups were dotted strategically about town performing the same sky-gazing exercise. Together we attempted a coordinated count of the Buxton total. Swifts once bred throughout this area but modern roofing practices have eradicated many of the niches that they once used and it’s striking how they seem to survive best where perhaps the older, traditional slate roofs are intact.

Related: Saving Britain’s swifts – in pictures

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Source: The Guardian
Country diary: are all our swifts out for the count?