The Swift - Bird of the Borough
The Swift breeding population has declined by more than a quarter in the past 25 years. Reasons for decline remain unclear, but the loss of nesting sites is a possible reason for this. Swifts nest in holes often in old buildings but as a result of renovations, their nesting sites can be blocked up or even destroyed.
The Swift was given ‘Bird of the Borough’ status by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council in May 2015, following a request to council from the Antrim RSPB Local Group. Councillor Neil Kelly was elected the Swift champion.
Many residents and businesses are carrying our Swift conservation projects by incorporating nesting bricks or erecting nesting boxes on their homes or linking with local businesses.
Here are a few examples of the positive Swift conservation work in Antrim and Newtownabbey:
- Swift nesting tower built in the car park of the new Tesco store, in Crumlin
- Swift nest bricks incorporated into new build/renovated buildings, include Antrim Library, Antrim Castle Gardens, Mossley Mill and Crumlin Recreation Centre.
- In 2017 a large ‘Welcome back’ Swift banner was erected on Antrim Library, in the town centre.
- Swift nest boxes erected by Crumlin Integrated Primary, Ballycraigy Primary, a butchers in Ballyclare, ANBC Newpark Depot, etc.
- In 2017, Crumlin Integrated Primary School, have a live camera view to 2 of their Swift nest boxes, with pupils requesting to check on the young Swift residents each day at school.
- A public Swift survey in the towns and villages in the borough in 2016.
- RSPB Antrim Local Group volunteers visit local schools, attend events and hold drop in sessions at Antrim Library to raise awareness on the Swift, Bird of the Borough.
If you would like further information as a local resident, business, school or community group, please contact Ruth Wilson, Biodiversity Officer, E: [email protected] T: 028 9446 3113 ext 31371