Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has been raising the profile of the Swift through its new summer project. It comes after a survey carried out last year found populations across the borough including Carnlough, Glenarm, Larne, Whitehead, Ballymena, Cullybackey, Ahoghill, Portglenone and Kells.
Swift Walk, Talks And Box Building
This year, staff have been engaging schools and community groups through Swift walks, talks and box building workshops. The Swift is a migrant bird that returns from their wintering grounds in Africa to the same spot in Northern Ireland each year to breed.
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is committed to protecting and enhancing the region for biodiversity, and encouraging local people to get involved in biodiversity initiatives.
Rachel Graham, from Fourtowns Primary School, said: “The primary four and five classes loved learning about Swifts and finding out how we can help protect them in our local environment. Building special boxes was a great treat for the class and we look forward to a Swift family moving in.”
Ashleigh Moran, Seaview Primary School, said: “We were delighted to take part in the project and we have learned so much about the extraordinary lives of these birds. We were able to use our involvement as part of our Green Flag submission and we were delighted that we were awarded our first Green Flag this summer.”
Bird expert, Aidan Crean, said: “Swifts nest in holes, often inside old buildings, in the roof space, and under the eaves of old houses and churches. The towns and villages of Mid and East Antrim can provide a perfect habitat for them. Unfortunately, there are often more modern buildings being built meaning the Swift can sometimes struggle to find a suitable nest site. It is fantastic that Council have committed to installing swift boxes and I look forward to seeing them.”
Swifts often fly at high speed around rooftops and houses. You might also see them flying low and fast around buildings, especially at dusk. You can also often hear them before you see them as they are known to have a shrill scream.
Keep a look out and if you are lucky enough to see one of these wonderful birds, let council know by tagging them on twitter or facebook.