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, 22 July 2019

Birds could make a Swift exit

By Maurice Garvey
A BIRD enthusiast has warned of a Swift exit in Clondalkin Village, should proposed plans for a 155-bed nursing home at Presentation Convent go ahead.
A colony of Swifts are located in the cloisters of the convent building, a site earmarked for development, pending an appeal to An Bord Pleanála by residents.
One of the fastest flying birds in Ireland, Swifts spend virtually all their life airborne, only nesting to breed, but they will be wiped out unless precautions are put in place to protect their colony, according to Daithí De Brún, founder of Swift Conservation Clondalkin and a member of Birdwatch Ireland.
“South Dublin County Council have shown zero to no interest in preserving the Swift population,” said De Brún, who attributes their decline to the loss or renovation of the many 1970/80s style buildings they use for breeding.
He says the colony are the only remaining Swifts in Clondalkin.
However, SDCC say they have identified an active colony in “one of the council’s properties in the Clondalkin area.”
The Swift population in Ireland has declined by over 40 per cent in the last 15 years, and they are on the amber list of birds of conservation concern.
De Brún continued: “Dublin City Council, Kildare, Dún-Laoghaire-Rathdown, Belfast, are all conscious of breeding sites, and have built nest boxes, but Swifts are just not on the agenda for SDCC. They talk about bio-diversity, but only started to do something on their 2015-2020 bio-diversity plan last year.”
De Brún has monitored the Clondalkin colony for ten years, and says the numbers have decreased from 20 to seven in that time.
He made a submission during the planning process for the nursing home, citing “great concerns” for their future, as they are “faithful to their nest sites.”
On Monday, De Brún gave a Clondalkin Tidy Towns talk to residents at the convent grounds, pointing out the distinctive scythe shaped wings of Swifts, who he says, sleep and eat on the wing and travel as far away as southern Africa and the China Royal Palace.

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