New nestplaces for Common Swifts in the city

At the end of may I noticed preparations were being made for renovation activities on a building in the Ziekerstraat in Nijmegen. There were three nestplaces of Common Swifts located in the boarding of the gutter. I knew this because I regulary observed the Swifts above the Nijmegen city centre standing on the top level of the Marienburg parkinglot.
Common Swifts are very special birds, mainly because they spend their entire life in the air (eting, sleeping, mating), with the exception of the breeding period. In addition, Swifts return from southern Africa for only approx. 100 days to nest at the same place. Had these three nestplaces in the building in the Ziekerstraat been destroyed during the renovation, three pairs of Common Swifts would have been driven away from their trusted nestplaces. Common Swifts are robbed of their nestplaces more and more often. Nestplaces are almost exclusively found in man-made buildings nowadays (Common Swift used to nest mainly in cracks and crevices in rock walls and holes in trees). After renovation or demolishment there is often no room for Swifts or any other bird species left at all.
In this case the loss of the nestplaces could be prevented by a simple measure though. That is why I contacted the construction company Meuwsen Bouw, which would be doing the renovation, and Dorvas BV, the owner of the building at the end of may. To my releaf, both parties turned out to be most willing to cooperate. As there were nesting Swift present at that time, the advice of the Swallow Advice Bureau was followed; when the scaffolding was built up around the beginning of august several walking boards were left out untill it was sure all Swifts had fledged. Construction companies (civilians as well) are obliged to do this by the way, as breeding birds may not be disturbed. Unfortunately though, breeding birds are usually overlooked, causing the destruction of countless nestplaces.
Work on the gutters was started only after it was established no nesting birds were present anymore. Over the years, rotting, caused by leaking gutters had formed two holes in the underside of the gutter-boarding which were used as entrance holes. A third pair of Common Swifts used an opening that once held a drain pipe. The hollow gutter boarding provided a space only 7,5 cm high, but that didn't stop the Common Swifts with their 40 cm wingspan from nesting in the dark spaces.
In agreement with the owner, an employee of Meuwsen Bouw made holes in the underside of the hollow gutter boarding after the gutters had been renovated. Beside the three pairs of Common Swifts that nested last year there will even be room for some more, as in sted of three holes, seven holes are available now!
I'm very happy with this result I'm very thankfull to the Swallow Advice Bureau, but especially the owner of the building and the renovating contractor. I hope to be able to suply many more Common Swifts with nestplaces in the future, Dorvas BV has already said there might be more opportunities for collaboration!
For questions of readers I can be reached on 06-51914095 or at
Jochem Kuhnen