Return to index

Swift Problems


These are dark sooty brown birds with very short, strong legs. Can you see why it fell from the nest? Usually these are in crevices in brickwork
or stonework high up in buildings. 
The chicks rarely fall out by accident.
If you are unable to locate the nest or return the chick do not try to feed it unless you have had some experience with tube feeding.
Is it lively and active or quiet and subdued? If subdued, it may be ill or injured so handle carefully.

If you have any homoeopathic remedies, crush a tablet of Arnica and Aconite together and dissolve in a teaspoon of tepid boiled water.
Give this to the bird on a cotton wool bud or tiny artists' paintbrush on the edge of the beak.
The liquid will help with rehydration and the medication will help with the shock and bruising from the fall.

If nothing else is available, give plain, cool water very carefully, drop by drop on the edge of the beak with the tip of a finger.
If possible, give it some re-hydration liquid such as Lectade, Critical Care or, in an emergency: mix 1 tablespoon tepid
boiled water mixed with a tiny pinch of glucose and 4-5 grains of salt to make a basic rehydration fluid.
Dip the tip of your figer, a cotton wool bud or tiny artists' paintbrush in the liquid and put a drop on the edge of the beak.
The bird should accept this by licking it up; you need to give it as many drops as it will willingly take - about 10-15 would be good.
NEVER squirt water into a bird's beak. It will die if liquid gets into the air sacs.

Do not attempt to feed the bird until it has been rehydrated.  It will need regular semi-liquid feeds via a syringe and tube, but in an emergency,
if the bird is opening its beak, you can give a few chopped  maggots formed into a small pellet or better still, a few wax moth larvae.
Put this at the back of the tongue and the chick will swallow it down.
Keep the bird quiet and warm in a dark, ventilated box and take to a Wildlife Rescue Centre as soon as possible.

For more details and photographs showing the rearing of swifts see:  feeding swifts   swift with feather damage and Case Histories