Two minutes of your time, friends, for the Swifts - sadly, they're leaving us again as we speak, but happily, we can help them when they come back......
Swifts are one of our most iconic and magical birds, migrating thousands of miles every year to raise their families here in the UK. They make great neighbours, are steeped in folklore and have lived with us for countless generations - and, for me and many others, they're the true embodiment of the English summertime.
BUT, they're in big trouble, for various reasons - one of the main ones being loss of nest sites. They rely on us for their homes - cracks and crevices in our eaves and roofs - where they raise their chicks every summer. Renovations and 'improvements' are forcing them out of existing houses, while new builds are bereft of nesting sites.
Regular readers will know I try and fundraise every year or two, just to try and give something back (in whatever small way) for those who are doing amazing work for birds and wildlife. In recent years it's been Roseate Terns for RSPB Coquet Island, Quails and other endangered migrants for Champions of the Flyway, Turtle Doves (last year), events and campaigns for e.g. Jean Thorpe Wildlife Rescue, and various other causes.
This year, it's all about Swifts, and I'd really appreciate your help. My target is an initial £1000 and 1000km - the former (hopefully) in donations from you good people, the latter via running and cycling. Last year my Couch to 500k for Turtle Doves raised an amazing £4,000+, and while I don't expect to hit those heights annually, this year I'll be pushing myself further: instead of running 500km over the twelve months (which was some feat by my modest standards!), I aim to reach 1000km, through a combination of running and cycling.
It could be a 50/50 500km split, but I'm hoping I can do the majority via running - maybe 60/40 if possible. Either way, it's a lot more than I've managed ever before, so let's see.... as of now (early August), I'm a full five months in with seven to go, and after a slow start, I'm on schedule. But I'll need the motivation, encouragement and guilt of fundraising for Swifts to push myself towards the line, especially as summer turns to autumn, and autumn to winter.... Any contributions will directly help these magical birds, funding swift boxes and tape loops, rehab costs, events, campaigning and more. Please give what you can, and I'll update you regularly here - not just on how my target-chasing is going, but on exactly how, why and when your money will help Swifts. Donate here (it only takes a minute). THANK YOU LOVELY PEOPLE!