Common swift Apus apus, individual clinging on to door, this bird was being rehabilitated to eventually be released, Bedfordshire, England,

Are your swifts under threat?

Many established swift colonies are being lost through building demolition, renovation and roof repair.

Nest sites under threat

Some of the most vulnerable sites are in empty or derelict buildings and areas which are the subject of a regeneration project.

If you know of a colony that's potentially under threat, let the owner or developer of the site and the local authority know about it as soon as possible. Urge them to make provisions for the birds so that the colony is not lost. If it's a neighbour, explain gently these are special birds which need people, and ask that they help them as much as they can.

Advise them to visit the Swift Conservation website. Here, you can find lots of useful help and information and how to contact them for guidance and practical advice.

In the breeding season (May – August)

If any work is likely to cause immediate threat to a colony in the breeding season, inform the contractor nesting swifts are present and that they are legally protected.

Advise them to immediately stop any work that impacts on the birds and ask for contact details of the supervising officer and the contracting authority or organisation. Contact them directly to raise their awareness of the situation.

If you feel work is not going to stop, you can report the case to your local police Wildlife Crime Officer. They can talk to the contractor and the supervising authority or organisation to safeguard the birds for the nesting season.

New buildings

New buildings of any kind, even steel warehouses, can be designed to provide swift nesting sites.

It is worth reminding the council planning department of their obligations to protect and promote biodiversity in the built environment. Some local authorities and individuals are already doing a lot for swifts.

Many examples of this can be found on the Swift Conservation and Action for Swifts websites. The right kind of dialogue will encourage many more to champion their cause.

Where buildings must be demolished, encourage the local authority to mitigate by providing a new site nearby. If this is in place before the buildings are demolished, it may be possible to lure the birds to the new site before the old one is lost.