RSPB links up with Walsall Football Club to save the swift
Tue 6th Jul 2010 | Marketing & PR
Walsall Football Club has joined forces with the conservation charity RSPB to make a difference for the swift, a summer migrant which is declining dramatically across the UK.
The screaming of swifts is a real sign that summer has arrived, but bird numbers arriving in the UK from Sub-Saharan Africa has declined by 47% in the past ten years, and the species was recently added to the conservationists’ amber list, meaning it is of serious conservation concern.
Daniel Mole who’s the Assistant Club Secretary at Walsall Football Club said: “The swift has been part of our logo since we were founded back in 1888 when Walsall Town and Walsall Swifts amalgamated, and we feel a particular duty to help protect these enigmatic birds.”
The club will help raise awareness of swift conservation in its match day programme as well as by having the RSPB’s swift advice leaflets available at its shop. The club will also raise money for the RSPB’s conservation work by displaying the charity’s swift pin badges in Main Reception at the Bank’s Stadium.
The RSPB is trying to understand why swifts are declining, but loss of nest sites through building improvement or demolition is thought to be a serious issue, as they nest almost exclusively on buildings.
Louise Pedersen from the RSPB’s Birmingham Office says: “We know that swifts are really struggling to find suitable places to nest when they return from Africa in summer to raise a family here.
“We are thrilled to get Walsall Football Club on board to help get the message out to people in the West Midlands about what can be done to help these special long-distance flyers.”
A nationwide search launched by the RSPB last year asked for help in identifying where swifts are still seen and could be nesting, with thousands of people across the UK taking part.
Results have revealed the critical role that buildings play in the future of the species, with all swifts recorded found nesting on buildings, and over three quarters of them (77%) found nesting in houses.
And the charity hopes that more can be done to protect existing nests and provide more nesting opportunities in new buildings and renovations.
The RSPB continues its swift search this year and appeals to us all to look out for groups of screaming swifts at roof level, a good sign they are breeding nearby, or where they have seen swifts nesting – perhaps entering a hole in the building or under a roof. They would like any sightings reported to them via their website at (www.rspb.org.uk/helpswifts).
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