Swifts and the Nijmegen Bird Workgroup

A couple of days after the holes in the Ziekerstraat buildings had been realized (see Ziekerstraat project) I was contacted by Wilfried de Jong. He had known about the Ziekerstraat building containing Swift nestsites for some time as well and was surprised to see these neat round holes that could only be meant for the Swifts. He contacted the contractor who provided him with my phone number.
Wilfried had been in contact with some members of the Bird Workgroup of Nijmegen and the surrounding area (hereafter shortened to VWG) and had plans to arrange a meeting with them. We agreed it would be nice to work together in trying to keep Nijmegen a Swift-rich city so I got involved with that meeting as well.

On October 21st 2008 we had the meeting at Wilfried's house with Laurens Rietveld, the chairman, and Peter Hoppenbrouwers, the secretary of the VWG. We agreed to work on inventorising Swift nestsites and arranging a meeting with Nijmegen city counsil's ecologist, Mrs. Gerda Hendriks, to see how the city counsil can help Swifts. Laurens also asked me to write an article about Swifts and our plans for the VWG's paper (for the article see the Swift media page).

On november 25th 2008 the meeting with Mrs. Hendriks took place. We talked about Swifts and provided her with some examples of the Swift-friendly policy of some other cities. Mrs. Hendriks, together with her collegues at the 'Building and Living' department, would look into the possibility of adjusting the building/demolition-permit-text to ask for attention for Swifts, other city birds and bats.

On January 16th there will be a members-evening of the VWG. There wasn't any room left on the agenda for the Swifts project, but there will be an announcement made of more attention for the project at the general meeting of members in March.

The general meeting of members on March 30th was a great success! The Bird of the Year for both 2009 and 2010 is... The Swift! The Bird Workgroup will try to get an idea of how many Swifts nest in it's field of activity. This will take a lot of effort, as Swifts are very hard to inventorise. That is why all help is welcome. To reach as many people as we can, we'll try to get articles placed in regional papers. There will also be a Swift-section on the Bird Workgroup's website (www.vogelwerkgroepnijmegen.nl). I will lead an excursion in Nijmegen's city centre to show anyone interested what to look for (Swift behaviour, possible nest places) on a date yet to be decided on.

I wrote a press-article this saturday (April 18th). A member of the Bird Workgroup board will help spread the article among newspapers. I've submitted the article to the local paper De Rozet (www.derozet.nl) myself. A short version of the article will be spread among small local papers by fellow Swift enthousiast and Bird Workgroup member Wilfried de Jong.

A long time passed since I last updated this page. At the time I'm writing this (November 29th 2009) there's a nice Google Map with loads of Swift nesting places online. Please note: it takes a while to load and the indicators have been spread over two pages (very much so against my will!). The map below only shows the nestplaces of the first page, to also see the second page please click the link below the map.

to view a bigger map, click here.

To be continued...

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