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Swift joins birds at risk register

[Monday 22 June 2009]

YET another bird whose calls are one of the great sounds of the British summer is at risk, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds reports today (June 22).

It is the swift, the summer immigrant which tends to hunt in flocks and whose high pitched calls are a traditional summer sound. Only a month ago, ornithologists reported that the bird whose call is the very essence of spring, the cuckoo, has been placed on the “red” danger list.

The RSPB today revealed that swift numbers had fallen by 47% in the past decade and it has now been placed on the amber list, which means “that it is of serious conservation concern.”

The decline is probably connected with the loss of nesting places. Swifts, which mate for life, always return to the same nesting sites, which are usually under the eaves of older buildings.

The widespread modernisation of such buildings means that many thousands of nesting places have been lost, scientists believe.

The RSPB is anxious to draw up a detailed picture of existing nesting sites and areas where the swift no longer appears. Anyone wishing to help in this vital survey is asked to log onto www.rspb.org.uk/helpswifts

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