30th May 2006
They’re back! The swifts have returned from their winter holidays in southern Africa and the Cairngorms Biodiversity Officer is seeking your help to record sightings of these birds and note details of nest sites.
Last year, the first ever Swifts Nest Survey for the Cairngorms was carried out with members of the public reporting around 95 nest sites in 70 buildings as well as various other sightings of these dramatic aerial flyers. Information was recorded across the Park with the majority of recordings coming from Badenoch and Strathspey.
The Swifts Nest Survey is being repeated this year and it is especially important that information is recorded in areas such as Deeside, the Angus Glens and Highland Perthshire.
Stephen Corcoran, the Cairngorms Biodiversity Officer explained: “The first Swifts Nest Survey was really valuable, helping us to identify nest sites and specific buildings that are proving valuable to nesting birds. However, there is a real lack of data from some areas of the Park and, although we want as many people as possible wherever they are to continue collecting the information, we especially want to hear from people in Deeside, Strathdon, Glenlivet, Atholl and Glen Shee.”
Swift numbers have been declining across Scotland over the past ten years. A probable cause for this decline is a reduction in nest sites – the old buildings that are preferred by swifts are being replaced or renovated, removing traditional nesting places.
The information being collected as a result of the Swifts Nest Survey is being fed into national recording schemes and is also being mapped using Geographical Information Systems, highlighting important buildings with nests and helping to inform the planning system.
Stephen Corcoran continued: “As well as recording nest sites and submitting the information to me at the Cairngorms National Park Authority offices in Grantown-on-Spey, we would also like to see more building companies and individuals taking account of the need for nest boxes on new or existing homes – this would be a big help.”
A survey leaflet with details on swifts, what they look like, where they like to nest and complete with a tear-off slip to record your sightings is available. Contact Stephen Corcoran on tel: 01479 870528 or email: [email protected] for a leaflet, or look out for copies in your local area. Information on which buildings swifts are nesting in is essential to ensure such sites are protected.