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Swift spotting in Cairngorms National Park

18th May 2009

Swift spotters are needed in the Cairngorms National Park, to record the aerial acrobats as they fly in from their winter holidays in southern Africa.

Cairngorms Biodiversity Officer Stephen Corcoran wants people to record sightings and note details of nest sites and builders to provide more habitats for the birds.

He explained: “Previous Swifts Nest Surveys have been extremely 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. One of the probable causes 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 will be fed into national recording schemes and also be mapped using Geographical Information Systems, highlighting important buildings with nests and helping to inform the planning system.

Mr 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 engaging sympathetic development for swifts – such as putting up nest boxes and leaving eaves open during maintenance work.”

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 or go to the CNPA website Information on which buildings swifts are nesting in is essential to ensure such sites are protected.