BIRD lovers are being encouraged to take steps to try and boost Oxford’s ailing swift population.
The bird – known as a ‘master of the sky’ – has seen numbers decline by more than half between 1995 and 2015.
For swift awareness week, which starts today, the RSPB is urging residents to help boost the food and nesting options available for the bird in a bid to make the city more habitable.
Emily Seccombe, Oxford Swift City project officer, said people can help by putting up a nestbox or growing wildflowers to attract flying insects - a swift’s main source of food.
She added: “Swifts are urban nesting birds; they make their nests in the cracks and crevices under tiles or in stonework.
“A major cause of swifts’ decline is the loss of nest spaces in buildings, due to demolition or renovation of old buildings.
“Modern buildings often lack the spaces that swifts need.”