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The introduction of the report describes a brief encounter between a flock of Common Swifts and the author, lasting only a few seconds, before going on to consider the question “How many people actually know the Bird of the Year 2004?”


In the main part, item 2.1.1, the family relations of the Swift are described. Item 2.1.2 describes the birds’ build, weight and system of calls, and also their extraordinary aerial way of life. Item 2.3.1 depicts the distribution and breeding range of this superb flyer world wide, as well as in the neighbourhood of my home village.


In item 2.2 I describe my project “Attempt to attract Swifts to a new breeding site”. I ran this project in Heimertingen (a village in Bavaria, Germany). I wanted to provide a new breeding site for the Swifts there, as they were endangered due to building restoration works. To achieve this I played Swift response calls via a loudspeaker set up near a nesting box. In theory this should have attracted the Swifts in the vicinity, and encouraged them to breed in the artificial nest site. The calls were successful in bringing Swifts to the boxes, but unfortunately they did not breed there.


I came up with various possibilities for this:


1.      The entrance holes were at the front of the nesting boxes and were therefore avoided by the common swifts. However, moving the entrances to the bottom of the nesting boxes was not successful either. Further theories were that the boxes were too small and the Swifts did not like the angular shape.


2.      The nesting boxes were not mounted high enough.


3.      As there are many Barn Swallows in this area, there is too much competition regarding the food.


4.      They missed the physical presence of members of the same species.


5.      The experiment was started too late in the breeding season.


6.      The birds whose attention was attracted were yearling non-breeders.


This experiment, described in detail in the report, is followed by a diary of relevant events throughout the summer. It begins with the arrival of a bird in the summer habitat (2.3.1) continues with the reproduction (, hatching (2.3.3), the raising of the chicks in the wild ( and by humans (, a description of the chicks fledging (2.3.5) and ends with their departure to the winter habitat (2.3.6).


The end of the report briefly describes the position of the Swift in the food chain and the life expectancy of these extraordinary flying acrobats.


Projektarbeit und Naturschutz: Der Mauersegler und seine Lebensweise
Facharbeit aus dem Fach Biologie am Vöhlin-Gymnasium Memmingen 2004



© APUSlife 2004, No. 2968

ISSN 1438-2261

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