Have you seen the Swift banner?

 

What bird can fly an average daily total of 500 miles, that’s 1.2 million miles in its lifetime and can catch 100,000 insects in one day? It’s the Common Swift, the Bird of the Borough for Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council.

The Antrim RSPB local group, through funding from the NI Challenge Fund, have installed a large banner on the Antrim Library wall, where swift nesting bricks were incorporated in the building during construction. The ‘Welcome back’ banner will celebrate the return of the Swift from one of the longest migration journeys in the World, 14,000 miles every year.

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor John Scott, said: “Our Borough is a great place to see Swifts. With many local people enthusiastic to help conserve the Swift, it’s great to see how the RSPB Antrim Local Group have been very creative in getting a ‘Welcome back’ banner installed. They have shown great leadership to raise awareness on the Bird of the Borough, a local biodiversity project.”

Councillor Neil Kelly, Swift Champion for the Borough, said: “It is a lovely idea to ‘Welcome back’ the Swift to our Borough. I’m delighted with the conservation work taking place for the Bird of the Borough. Swifts depend almost totally on humans for their nest sites and in some places their numbers are declining as the way we renovate and modernise our properties leaves them with fewer places to nest. We are therefore in a unique position to help them.”

Brenda Campbell, Leader of the RSPB Antrim Local Group, said “Swifts have been identified as an important species in the Borough of Antrim and Newtownabbey and are a priority species in Northern Ireland. Swifts make good neighbours, sharing your house with Swifts is a great privilege. They are unobtrusive and quiet when nesting”.

So don’t forget to look out for the Swift ‘Welcome back’ banner in Antrim town.

For further information on Swifts and how you can help:

Swift Conservation http://www.swift-conservation.org/

RSPB http://www.rspb.org.uk/discoverandenjoynature/discoverandlearn/swifts/

Concern for Swifts http://concernforswifts.com/

If you want further information on the Swift and what you can do to help in the Antrim and Newtownabbey area, as a local business or resident please contact Ruth Wilson, Biodiversity Officer, Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council T: 028 9446 3113 ext 31371 or E: ruth.wilson@antrimandnewtownabbey.gov.uk

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