July 4th, 2010, 12:57 PM
I'm Anika and I mainly joined this forum because I found a young common swift yesterday. He's doing quite well, although I haven't managed to get to crickets or grasshoppers today since all the shops are closed. Right now I'm feeding it on cat food (the hard bits) which i first let soak in water until they are all soft. Tomorrow he's getting proper common swift food. I think I'm doing quite well in taking care of him, but any tips or questions would be very welcome. Looking forward to hearing from you!
July 4th, 2010, 01:33 PM
Well done you for looking after the swift! How young is it? Is it fully feathered, i.e. able to fly? Is it injured in any way?
If it's injured you may need to ask the advice of a vet. If it isn't, the best advice is probably that from Tony Soper in the 'Bird Table Book':
Keep it in a warm and draught-free place. Feed it with a mixture of swatted fly (not ones killed by sprays), small smooth green caterpillars (not hairy ones) and finely-minced meat from the end of a matchstick (so the actual meaty bits from cat food rather than jelly or gravy are okay). Handle the bird very gently. Feed once every hour and make sure the crop is full (you can see the food stockpile and swell at the base of the throat).
It is difficult to overfeed a young bird, and it will tell you in no uncertain fashion when it is hungry. Give it water, though it may not drink. Do not 'pet' it; warmth and a cosy nest will substitute for its mother. Keep its 'nest' clean and dispose of its dropping promptly.
I have raised unfledged House Martins and Swallows like this, so Swifts shouldn't be much different. If your Swift is big enough it may also need to build up muscle strength in its wings. Place it on a finger and then gently move the finger up and down. On the down strokes it should flutter its wings and thus get a bit of exercise. If it doesn't, then just be patient - it's not yet ready to try!
When it seems fully recovered take it out to an open grassy area and launch it upwards from your open hands, facing into the wind so it can get some lift. The grass is important, so if it's not ready to fly it has a soft landing!
Last edited by Russ Heselden; January 20th, 2011 at 12:50 AM.