As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Monday 26 September 2016

Oxford to become a "swift city" with 300 new nests stuck on buildings

OXFORD is to become England's first "Swift City" under a major project by the RSPB. 

The charity has been given £83,700 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to lead a two-year project to maintain swift nesting sites in the city and add 300 further sites onto new and existing buildings. 

The iconic migrating bird, which lands only to breed and can fly 560 miles a day, nests almost exclusively in urban areas, but numbers in the UK have fallen by 38 per cent since 1994. 

One possible cause of the decline is thought to be loss of nesting sites as old buildings are renovated and new builds do not include spaces for them to nest. 

The RSPB project will research Oxford’s present swift populations and nest sites and work with builders and planners to maintain them and create 300 new sites on buildings.

Starting in January, the RSPB will work alongside partners including Oxford University, The Oxford University Museum of Natural History, Oxford City Council, Thames Valley Environmental Records Centre, Environment Resources Management and the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT). 

As part of the scheme a showpiece "Swift Tower" is planned which will combine new nest site with a public art project. 

But the charity has said it will need volunteers to help monitor swift numbers. 

Charlotte Kinnear, local RSPB Conservation Officer, said: "Like much urban wildlife, swifts are under pressure in the UK. 

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