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Brilliant Swift news from Jesper Toft in Denmark

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Frederiksberg: image credit Mansion Global

Today, Frederiksberg municipality was the first in Denmark to be certified as a swift-friendly municipality bymursejlerne.dkas a result of 9 month work.The municipality with 103,000 inhabitants is surrounded by the City of Copenhagen.

The certification means that the municipality will ensure better conditions for swifts by

  • disseminate knowledge about Swifts and their value for the biodiversity of the city
  • increase the number of nesting sites in the city, thereby compensating for lost breeding sites
  • encourage the preservation of existing nesting sites during building renovation
  • encourage swift-friendly construction that provides space for nature in architecture
  • ensure good, pesticide-free habitats and food sources for the insects – swift’s food
  • register the Swifts nesting sites so that citizens is able follow the development of the population.

What does the certification mean specifically?

The municipality will – in recognition that Swift’s are in marked decline (which is primarily due to lack of nesting sites) and is now red-listed as almost threatened and that the existing legislation / protection is insufficient to remedy the decline – actively make a special effort to preserve and promote a living airspace with swifts and thus elevate the nature experience in the city. Swifts need help here and now to survive in the cities in the future.

We will maintain and expand nesting sites for swifts by:

  • checking the municipality’s own buildings for breeding swifts and / or whether they are suitable for creating new nesting places for them – schools are obvious in the first place;
  • creating awareness and commitment about the Swift’s among the citizens by registering the breeding Swifts in the municipality on a municipal map (GIS etc.) in collaboration with local nature-interested citizens, housing organizations, companies and relevant interest organizations. Inspiration from the cities of Vienna and Amsterdam can be found here:https://www.wien.gv.at/umweltschutz/naturschutz/biotop/mauersegler.html#plaetzeoghttps://maps.amsterdam.nl/vogels/?LANG=en. The observations are used to continuously assess the Swift’s situation and possible dynamics in the municipality and on the basis of this initiate initiatives to both preserve existing nesting sites and create new nesting sites for Swifts;
  • increasing the number of nesting sites by ensuring sustainable urban development, where all construction is completely natural also seen as an opportunity to preserve / create nesting sites for Swifts. This means that the needs for Swifts are included as an assessment in the municipality’s administration so that when there is new construction and renovations of facades and roofs are planned an appropriate number of integrated nesting sites in the buildings early in the development of construction. Alternatively, set up an appropriate number of nest boxes the building;
  • publishing and continuously adjust the total number of nesting sites on the municipality’s website;
  • ensuring that all construction – including DGNB certified construction / Nordic Ecolabelled construction – is encouraged to specifically preserve / create nesting sites for Swifts – swift-friendly construction is completely compatible with both the consideration of a better climate and to create a better urban environment with a living air space, see more in the booklet “Byggeri og mursejlere” (mursejlerne.dk/byggeri-og-mursejlere).

We want to secure the Swifts food base (the insects) by:

  • preserving / establishing food sources, habitats and breeding grounds for insects on green common areas;
  • reducing the light pollution as much as possible, by e.g. to choose well-shielded warm white LED bulbs also in motion sensors and to avoid, as far as possible, horizontal lighting and to encourage the same to apply in private gardens and areas around businesses;
  • avoiding to use pesticides that i.a. kills the insects that are the Swifts food.

Best

Jesper

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