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More breeding spots will attract more swifts - BirdLife

10 abandoned birds nursed back to full strength and released

BirdLife Malta is working on providing new breeding spots for swifts, as well as many other species, with the help of the Conservation of Wild Birds Funding Scheme.

This summer, a record number of 10 swifts were found by members of the public. The young fledglings, which were found out of the nest, were then cared for round-the-clock by BirdLife Malta staff and volunteers until they were strong enough to be released.

Every year, BirdLife Malta receives a large number of injured wild birds, and during the summer, swifts are the most common birds in need of help. This species visits each year to nest in areas like Mdina, Sliema, St Julians and San Ġwann.

"Some of the young fall from their nest but, unlike sparrows, the parents abandon them completely. Thanks to the support of the public, many of them are handed over to BirdLife Malta and we then have the opportunity to take care of them, until they are able to survive alone.

"In the wild, swifts are fed constantly, so we have to be on hand ready to feed them at a moment’s notice and ensure that they will be able to fly properly, as swift fledglings start their migration to Africa immediately they leave the nest. For this, we spend some time after every meal letting them exercise their wings.

"After two to three weeks with us, the little swifts who found themselves in our care were strong enough to go back into the wild and start their journey towards Africa. We ringed and released them and will now be waiting for them to return next spring!" the eNGO said.

The swift breeding population has been increasing and spreading across the country during the last decades. As long as they find suitable places to nest, swifts are set to become a regular and widespread summer breeding resident in a few years. 

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