This report is based on enquiry data obtained from persons involved in the protection of Common Swifts. The results of the enquiry are strongly influenced by a subjective factor depending mainly on the skill of the respondents of the enquiry and on the intensity of their investigation.
MACIEJ LUNIAK and MARIUSZ GRZENIEWSKI:
|Nest-boxes for the Common Swift – experience from Poland|
Approximately 1013 nest-boxes located in 53 groups, available to Swifts during 1-4 seasons (Table 1.) were investigated with respect to “visiting” by these birds. 268 nest-boxes (i.e. 26.5 % ) in 26 groups were reported by respondents as having been visited by Swifts. Unvisited (or probably unvisited) boxes were reported as being a total of 745 (73.5 %) nest-boxes in 18 groups. The nest-boxes were “found” by Swifts mainly (56% of them) in the 1st and 2nd season (Table 2.) after they had been installed.
For 25 cases (groups of nest boxes) data were obtained concerning the proximity of the actual or former Swift colonies. In 18 cases of visited nest-box groups, 15 were located near Swift colonies. Among the 7 cases of unvisited nest-boxes groups 3 had no Swift colonies in the vicinity.
The Common Swift is in Poland the only breeding Apus species. It is commonly distributed all over the country, mainly in cities and towns. Its nesting sites are buildings and other man-made structures.
The species was not previously a subject of particular studies in Poland. Its population in Warsaw, the biggest Polish metropolis, was estimated in 1990’s as being in the “thousands” of pairs (Luniak 2005), and in the 52 km2 area of the inner city as being in the region of 2.0 to 3.7 thousand pairs, i.e. about 38-71 pairs/km2 (Nowicki 2001).
It is commonly observed that since that time the Swift population in Warsaw, as well as in other Polish cities and towns, has decreased considerably.
The actual crisis of the Common Swift in Poland is connected mainly with rapid modernization of housing. This causes loss of nest sites of several bird species nesting in buildings, but particularly affects the Swift.
This poses a new, tough problem of nature conservancy for the country. Actually, local law regulations in several cities request managers of renovation work to compensate for lost nest sites, but it is rarely applied in practice, mainly because of low public awareness of the matter. Information in mass media and several leaflets published recently are aimed at publicising the problem.
As a result of these actions a new practice of installing nest-boxes for Swifts has been introduced during the last few years.
This paper is a first and preliminary report on the application of nest-boxes for Swifts, which is in Poland a new experience in this field.
Material and methods
The report is based on enquiry data obtained from persons involved in protection of Common Swifts.
A total 1648 nest-boxes established during the period 2006-2009, were known to 18 respondents in 14 cities/towns. The nest-boxes were located in 86 groups (on the same or few closely neighbouring buildings), which were installed during different years within the period 2006-2009. Technical quality (dimensions and shape) of these nest-boxes, and the way of installing of them, followed commonly accepted recommendations (eg. www.commonSwift.org and www.Swift-conservation.org). The number of nest-boxes installed demonstrates the level of the effort aimed to protect the Common Swift, and this is a new phenomenon in Poland.
Approximately 1013 nest-boxes in 53 nest-boxes groups, available to Swifts during 1-4 seasons in 10 cities/towns (Table 1), were investigated by respondents with respect to visiting (or not) by these birds. The term ”visiting” means here that birds were observed, at least once, entering or in very close flight to a particular nest-box. There is no data as to how intensively the nest-boxes were investigated by respondents of the enquiry.
Table 1. Localities, number and period of investigations of nest-boxes, ( ) – number of goups of nest-boxes
Results and conclusions
The results based on the method of enquiry are strongly influenced by a subjective factor depending mainly on the skill of the respondents and on the intensity of their investigation.
26 nest-boxes groups of different age (1-4 seasons), with a total of 268 nest-boxes, were reported by respondents as have been visited by Swifts, and this is 26.5 % of the total of 1013 investigated nest boxes (Table 2). Unvisited (or probably unvisited) boxes were reported as being 745 (73.5 %) nest-boxes in 27 groups. Results of the enquiry also show that the nest-boxes were “found” by Swifts mainly (56% of them) in the 1st and 2nd seasons (Table 2.).
Table 2. Visiting of nest boxes (N = 1013 – approximated numbers) by Common Swifts in relation to age of the group
Data were obtained for 25 cases (groups of nest boxes) concerning the proximity of the actual or former Swift nest colonies. Among 18 groups of visited nest-boxes 15 were located near (i.e. on the same or neighbouring building) existing Swift colonies and in 3 cases there were no Swift colonies in the vicinity. Among the 7 cases of unvisited nest-box groups the respective ratio was 3 versus 4.
Conclusions concerning material and the results above:
– The total of 1648 nest boxes reported as installed in 14 cities/towns during the period 2006-2009 demonstrates an effort aimed for protection of the Common Swift, a new phenomenon in Poland.
– The above data obtained by the method of enquiry are influenced by subjective factor: respondents represented different skill and intensity of their investigations.
– Swifts visited 26 of 53 nest-box groups, i.e. about 26,5% of nest-boxes investigated.
– Nest-boxes were “found” by Swifts mainly (56%) in the 1st and 2nd seasons after they were installed.
– Groups of nest-boxes situated near actual or former Swift colonies had a higher ratio of “finding” of the nest-boxes by the birds.
The authors thank, very cordially, the respondents of the enquiry (see Table 1), who have supplied the data for this report.
Photos of installed nest boxes
© APUSlife 2011, No. 4783 Simultaneously published and printed 2011 in Ecologia Urbana, special issue 2/2011 with papers from the Commonswift Seminars Berlin 2010