In search of nesting Swifts
BirdWatch Ireland will be on the search for nesting Swifts this summer in counties, Kilkenny, Waterford and within Dublin City. These surveys follow the work completed in 11 other counties since 2017 and depend heavily on the help and input of local Swift Champions!
BirdWatch Ireland Staff in search of Swift nests in Co.Clare, summer 2020 – P. Webb
Swifts have undergone severe declines in Ireland and across their breeding range in recent decades. They are now a red-listed bird on the Birds of Conservation Concern in Ireland list. The reasons for declines are not fully understood but one major factor is the loss of nest sites in our cities, towns and villages. This occurs where nests can no longer be accessed by Swifts due to repair works, renovations and demolition of buildings containing colonies. Swifts return to the same nest site year on year and key to their future protection is the safeguarding of these sites.
Swift in Flight – RSPB Images
The focus of each county Swift survey is to locate, catalogue and map as many of the remaining Swift nest colonies in each respective county as possible. Swift nest sites are notoriously difficult to locate given their hidden locations in cavities in walls and roofs where they cannot be seen. Concealed nest sites, combined with the fact that Swifts only visit their nest sites on a handful of occasions each day really makes them tricky to pin down!
Each city, town and village will be visited in the three counties during June, July and August to carryout survey work. To help narrow the search area, BirdWatch Ireland are calling on locals in counties Kilkenny, Waterford and Dublin City to report Swift nest sites by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org .
Swift, Swallow and Martin ID Guide Poster – BirdWatch Ireland 2020
Ricky Whelan Project Coordinator urges some caution when reporting Swift nest sites “Swifts are frequently confused with Swallows, House and Sand Martins who share some similar characteristics and a really good rule of thumb is, if you can see the nest it wont be that of a Swift, as Swifts always nest concealed away in a cavity in a building.”
Keep an eye on BirdWatch Irelands Facebook Page for updates on the county Swift surveys as the summer rolls on!