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I have found a grounded swift? What shall I do?

As for most injured birds, place them gently in a box lined with kitchen paper towel and keep them quiet, dark and and indoors at room temperature. It may be that the bird is in shock and this will help its successful recovery. If the bird is more seriously injured, this will reduce stress until you can get advice or help from an experienced specialised swift carer. The box needs to be covered, so that the bird can’t escape, as swifts can climb very well.

Healthy adult swifts are able to take off by their own, unless they are poorly or injured, which means they need help. Juvenile swifts will have problems to take off from the ground.  If you think you found a juvenile swift, then measure the swift’s wing length. Swift can only fly if its wings are each at least 16 cm long. Don’t try to release a grounded swift, as an expert assessment is needed to establish the cause of the bird being grounded in the first instance. Never throw a swift in the air as this may seriously injure or kill the bird. Leave the bird in a padded cardboard box and do not put the bird into a wired cage, as this might result in severe feather damage rendering the swift unsuitable for release. Swifts spend almost their complete life airborne and feed on the wing.

If you find a grounded swift, the bird will most likely need help and assistance. Please do not attempt to feed a swift nor give him or her any water. Bring the bird as soon as possible to an experienced and acknowledged swift carer. Don’t “do it yourself” or get the bird to a ‘normal’ bird rescue or rehabber, as swift care is high-risk, very difficult, expensive and time consuming. It needs a very special setup and a lot of experience to successfully care and rehabilitate for swifts. Please note, this may also be applicable to other bird families such as nightjars, swallows and martins. Please follow the links below to find a swift carer near to the place you live, who will give you dedicated expert advise.

Dedicated Swift Carer UK

Swifts Local Network UK