Swifts are migratory birds that visit Ireland from their wintering grounds in Africa in the summertime. As it turns out, notably their numbers are declining, and they are now a red-list species (high conservation concern) on the Birds of Conservation Concern in Ireland list (BOCCI).
There decline is due to the destruction of older-style buildings, which in turn is destroying nest sites. These modern buildings have no available space for swifts to nest. They normally return to the same nest site each year, so when they arrive back from their wintering grounds, they find their nesting places have disappeared. The diet of a swift also consists of insects whose numbers are declining due to increased pesticide use.
In consultation with Phibsboro Village Tidy Towns and the Dublin Swift Conservation Group, along with funding from the Community Environment Action Fund of Dublin City Council, Dublin Bus has incorporated swift nesting boxes onto the side of our Broadstone Depot, to help preserve and expand the swift population.
We have also installed attraction call sound systems to let swifts know of the presence of the nesting box. Studies have shown having these call systems in place is imperative to help swifts locate the nest boxes. Generally, swifts are sociable birds. Which is why, they tend to go to nesting sites with established colonies.
Dublin Bus will continue monitoring and tracking its progress over the coming seasons. We are actively working with Swift Conservation Ireland to install more nesting boxes at our other depots.