Thursday 23 May 2019

Survey underway to see how many Swifts come to Sligo

Perhaps the most iconic and intriguing of our urban bird species, Swifts are a small migratory bird that visit Ireland each year to nest. They travel from southern Africa where they have spent nine months of the year.

Their future is seriously threatened in Ireland due to loss of nesting sites and suitable feeding habitats. From May to August each year, you will usually hear swifts before you see them, their distinctive piercing 'screaming' call is uttered on the wing as they fly over roof tops at high speed.

There is a lot that can be done to halt the decline in Sligo's swift population, knowing how many swifts there are and where they nest is the first step.

This summer, BirdWatch Ireland, with the support of the Sligo Branch of BirdWatch Ireland will conduct a County Swift Survey in Sligo. Although finding, recording and mapping Swift nesting sites is core to the Sligo Swift Survey, BirdWatch Ireland will also make focused efforts to get local communities and residents involved in recording but more so in the protection of Swift breeding colonies and nest sites.

Across Ireland, Tidy Towns groups, Community Groups and interested individuals are playing a vital role in Swift Conservation by undertaking projects to directly help conserve swifts in their localities.

In Sligo, swift projects have been undertaken and are ongoing in Tobercurry, Ballymote and Sligo town.

For more about the County Sligo Swift Survey and how to get involved there is a County Swift Survey Workshop in the Southern Hotel, Sligo on the 13th May 2019 at 7. 30pm.

Members of the BirdWatch Ireland Conservation Team will be on hand to discuss Swift ecology, conservation and local involvement before going outdoors to view Swifts in flight.

The 'County Sligo Swift Survey 2019' is an initiative of Sligo Heritage Forum and is an action of the County Sligo Heritage Plan 2016 - 2020 and is delivered by BirdWatch Ireland on behalf of the Heritage Office, Sligo County Council.

For more information please email or call Ricky Whelan (BirdWatch Ireland Project Officer) at or on 085 783 2545.

Sligo Champion