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Help conserve swifts in National Park

Common swift (Apus apus) flying overhead © Nick Upton

People in the Dales are being asked to help the conservation of swifts by recording nest sites or where they see a ‘screaming party’ this summer.

Swifts are currently returning from Africa to breed and can be seen in many Dales villages and towns, although populations are in steep decline across the UK.

Groups of screaming swifts flying fast and low are a sure sign that birds are nesting locally.

The forms for recording a nest site or a screaming party can be found here, while the background to this ‘citizen science’ project can be found in a blog post.

The project is being run by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority in partnership with the Sedbergh Swift Community Group.

Tanya Hoare, a member of the Sedbergh Swift Community Group, said:   “Knowing where swifts nest will mean we can better protect these endangered birds.  So why not help by sending your swift sightings in.  Unless we act now, we are in danger of losing them forever.”

Member Champion for the Natural Environment at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, Ian McPherson, said:  “Screaming parties of swifts are the sound of summer in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.  As more birds return over the next few weeks, the parties will get bigger and louder.

“Please do take a minute or two to submit a record if you see swifts flying near you.  The more we know about where swifts are spending their time in the Dales, and particularly where they are nesting, the more we can do to protect this truly wonderful species.

“Being a birder myself I have had a great interest in swifts for many years and, being a resident of Sedbergh, have been involved with the Sedbergh Swift Group since its inception.”

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