Probably only a small percentage of even wild-raised nestlings survive to reproduce. We cannot provide for the needs of orphaned Swifts as their parents do, but we must emulate them as closely as possible if we want to give them any chance at all of survival, initially for the long migration journey, and then to reproductive age.
Common Swift orphans represent a significant number of admissions in wildlife rehabilitation centres in Europe. We are aware that these centres may encounter difficulties in the hand-rearing of large numbers of insectivorous chicks using the limited and expensive commercially available insects as food. These constraints have resulted in alternative and clearly inappropriate diets being used, such as formulas with different types of meat, cat and dog food or even dairy products.
The Internet is full of sources recommending inappropriate diets for the hand-rearing of chicks, including advice from well known institutions or apparently trustworthy sources. This incorrect information has also reached the many individuals who privately hand-rear chicks found on the street and who may, therefore, be following incorrect husbandry guidelines..
The use of these unsuitable non-insect based diets could be from a lack of awareness of the harmful impact on the birds.
From the years of research and personal experience, even shown scientifically, it can be affirm that inappropriate diets jeopardise not only the survival during the hand-rearing process, but also survival once the bird is introduced back into the wild in a poor body and feather condition due to the food supplied. It is essential to be aware of the poor results and risks on the survival of young obligate insectivores hand-reared using incorrect diets.
The use of a diet based on insects highlight the fact that all birds have a high possibility of survival even when admitted in poor clinical condition.
Hand-rearing a Swift orphan should be conducted, when possible, by a Wildlife Rescue Center or an experienced carer both following good practices and an optimal protocol.
Unfortunately, many countries and large geographical areas have no adequate or accessible wildlife rescue centres and injured wildlife is left on inexperienced hands or abandoned to their fate and eventually death
Falciotnegre.com hopes that all the attempts are made to bring the Swift to expert hands, in case that is impossible, this site only intends to provide the information that can save the orphan's life.