Northern Ireland

RSPB: Help needed to find swift nest sites in south Belfast

Swift Image copyright Picasa/Steve Blain
Image caption The species is now amber listed - meaning that it is of medium conservation concern

Volunteers are being asked to help find nest sites of a bird whose traditional homes have fallen victim to the wrecking ball.

Swifts will begin arriving in Northern Ireland later this month after a 6,000 mile migration from Africa.

They traditionally nest in disused buildings.

Their numbers have been dropping due to loss of nest sites because of demolition or redevelopment.

The species is now amber listed - meaning that it is of medium conservation concern.

They weigh just 40g and spend their entire life on the wing until they are old enough to breed.

They are known for their screaming calls and acrobatic flight.

The RSPB in Northern Ireland is hoping to survey 20 areas of south Belfast for nest sites.

It is hoped the information will influence planners to leave places where swifts can build.

Volunteers will get training at the end of April.

The surveys will run from the end of May to the end of July.

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