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Waveney Bird Club launches new measures to help dwindling Swift population

PUBLISHED: 12:17 15 July 2017 | UPDATED: 12:17 15 July 2017

Waveney Bird Club has unveiled a new project aimed at drawing people's attention to the plight of swifts.
Photo: Alain Georgy

Waveney Bird Club has unveiled a new project aimed at drawing people's attention to the plight of swifts. Photo: Alain Georgy

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Waveney Bird Club is set to roll out a new scheme aimed at protecting swifts in the local area.

Swift numbers in the UK fell 30% between 1995 and 2011, largely due to increasing renovation of buildings where they nest. Photo: Doug Mackenzie Dodds Swift numbers in the UK fell 30% between 1995 and 2011, largely due to increasing renovation of buildings where they nest. Photo: Doug Mackenzie Dodds

The ‘Action for Swifts’ project is the start of a long-term plan to increase awareness of what the birds require and to survive.

Swift numbers nationally have tumbled, with around 30% of the UK breeding population lost between 1995 and 2011.

That drop can largely be contributed to the frequent demolition and renovation of old buildings, which swifts are reliant on for nesting.

Waveney Bird Club chairman and president, Steve Piotrowski, is determined for the project to get local people involved with swift conservation.

“This is a community project and we want to draw people’s attention to the plight of swifts,” he said.

“Swifts are so crucial because they take so many insects, flies and mosquitos out of the ecosystem.

“They are steadily dying out and it’s mainly because of building regulations which deny them a place to nest.”

As part of the bird club’s new measures, they will host a ‘Swift Walk Swift Pint’ event on Tuesday, July 18, where members and volunteers alike will undertake a survey of these iconic birds of summer in Bungay.

Starting from the Buttercross at 7pm, participants will embark on one of five walks in and around Bungay town centre, examining urban properties along the way to see where swifts are nesting and attempt to count how many there are.

“The problem is that people are making their properties pest proof. Swifts are obviously not pests but they are affected,” added Mr Piotrowski.

“As a result, we need people to put up specialised swift boxes which will encourage them to nest.

“The club is going to share with people where it is that swifts are nesting and, after the walk is complete, we’ll meet at the Green Dragon pub to collate our results.”

Once the Bungay survey is complete, the club plans to conduct further walks in Beccles, Lowestoft and the rest of the Waveney Valley.

Anyone wishing to take part in the first swift walk should meet at the Buttercross in Bungay on Tuesday (July 18) evening at 7pm.

For more information about the work being done by Waveney Bird Club, visit waveneybirdclub.com.

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