Soft spot for swallows

Nijmegen - What do you do if you're a bird-lover and see that Common Swifts are threatened to lose their nests in a building? Birdspotter Jochem Kuhnen has the answer. 'Just call the contractor'.
At the end of May the 27 year old nature-lover was scared to see a building in the Ziekerstraat was being scaffolded. 'I knew a couple of Common Swifts nested there and feared they would lose their nests after the renovation'. Common Swifts almost always nest in man-made buildings, knows Jochem Kuhnen who even has a swallow tattoo. 'I regulary observed the Common Swifts above the centre from on the top floor of the Marienburg parking lot. I sometimes saw a Common Swift fly into the holes of the gutter boarding.'
The 27 year old Nijmegenaar decided to take the plunge and contact the contractor Meuwsen Bouw and the owner, Dorvas BV. To his releaf both parties were prepared to cooperate. 'Supergood', thinks Kuhnen. 'It was even better, they thought along to make the building suitable for more nests. And only after it was established that there were no nesting birds left was work on the gutters started.'
After the gutters were renovated, holes were made in the bottom of the gutter boarding by an employee of Meuwsen Bouw, in agreement with the owner. 'Now there are not three but even seven nestplaces.'
Kuhnen hopes there will be more attention for the Common Swifts in Nijmegen's city centre. 'Common Swifts live in the sky and only 'land' to nest. Their nest for example is made of materials collected in the air. Things like feathers and straws. They even sleep in the sky. Apart from that they are spectacular flyers. They're very fast and manoeuvrable.'
More info about the Common Swift?

In the frame next to the picture:

The behaviour and biology of the Common Swift is still shrouded in a haze of mystery; Common Swifts probably sleep in the sky for example, but there are also biologists that claim these birds sleep in treetops. The houses, officebuildings, hotels, churches and other buildings represent a landscape of rocks full of holes for the Common Swift. Cavity wall isolation holes and other holes often also suffice as nestplace for the Common Swift. Especially old buildings, often in the centre of cities, are favored breeding areas for the Common Swift. Source: