The Threats
This young swift was found dead in roof space
after scaffolding prevented the parents from getting to the nest.
Its loss was entirely preventable.
Threats to nest sites may be temporary or permanent.
They fall into four basis groups :
 
BLOCKING ACCESS TO THE NEST SITE (temporary or permanent)
KNOCKING DOWN THE BUILDING (permanent)
RENOVATING OR REPAIRING THE BUILDING (permanent)
NEW BUILDINGS WITH NO SUITABLE VOIDS (long-term)
LOSS OF LOCAL FEEDING SITES (permanent)
Temporary Threats
  Usually take the form of scaffolding or disturbance during the nesting season.
  Whereas swifts can negotiate open scaffolding if it is constructed with them in mind, netting prevents all access. It is not clear whether swifts will return to a site if they have been denied access for a season.
Permanent Threats
  Range from the complete destruction of the building where they nested to minor repair work like repointing stonework or repairing loose tiles.
  Although complete destruction is usually non-negotiable, demolition can at least be timed to avoid loss of active nest sites. The swift species action plan requires that demolition should not take place between May and August where swifts are known to be or suspected to be nesting.
Most of the other Threats
  Most of the other threats can be either designed out altogether or mitigated by replacing lost nest sites as close as possible to those lost.

The scale of the threat in any one instance varies depending on whether the buildings are in public, corporate or private ownership. Huge areas of redevelopment pose a greater single threat, but are easier to identify and to mitigate by dealing with one or two key people. Piecemeal repair and development by individual house-owners offer a less serious immediate threat, but may be harder identify and mitigate unless the owner is sympathetic.
 
Temporary Threat
Scaffolding & Works to Buildings
Roebank street, Glasgow scaffolding caused the loss of three active nests.
Stanley Mills, Perthshire. Swifts were seen swirling around one of the gables and along the river face of the building.
Temporary Threat
Close-up of scaffolding with mesh screens.
Permanent Threat
Demolition
These 1950's flats had swifts in the roofs & eaves, and were demolished in 2000.
Church in Dennistun, which had swifts and bats.
Permanent Threat
Conversions
Old distillery buildings at Linlithgow being restored to create flats.
Permanent Threat
Repointing
Repointing destroyed the one or two nest sites in this old church Glenmavis.
Example of the type of rigorous repointing on a Dundee tenement building.
Permanent Threat
Roof Repairs & Replacement of Traditional Pantiles with Flat Tiles
These tiles used in Amsterdam replace the older ones.
The massive scale of local authority reroofing programmes means that whole areas are done at one time.
Permanent Threat
Plastic Gable End Capping
Gallowgate B gable end cladding.
Permanent Threat
Soffit Cladding or Boxing in Ladder Soffits
Typical soffit cladding.
Ladder soffits boxed in at Motherwell.
Permanent Threat
New Faschia or Flashings at Eaves Level
New faschia boards cover access to nest sites – traditional tenements.
New PVC faschia on private house. NB This faschia covers a concrete plinth so there is no internal cavity here.
Permanent Threat
New flashing covers access holes in the top course of stonework.
Permanent Threat
New Building Materials & Styles
Metal cladding does not readily lend itself to swifts nest sites.
Reinforced concrete will not produce cavities for a long time to come.
Permanent Threat
Mesh Grids Behind Church Tower Louvres or New Louvres
Permanent Threat
Loss of Local Feeding Areas
An area of mainly willow cleared by Railtrack in the middle of June. A favourite feeding area for swifts for the past 20 years.
Extensive housing estates adjacent to swift colonies remove local feeding
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© ConcernForSwifts 2002