High fines for disturbing these birds in Spain

by admin
swift birds

The swifts, tireless birds known for their piercing sound, are starting to flock to Spain from South Africa. Travelling more than 11,000 kilometres, they seek out the warmer areas of Spain to build their nests and reproduce.

They prefer to build these nests in high buildings and, if possible, close to each other. However, the species, which can reach speeds of more than 100 km/h and fly for months without landing, is protected in Spain. Therefore, the arrival of the swifts also brings concerns about their conservation. In particular, the destruction of their nests, often as a result of renovation works in the buildings where they like to nest, poses a major threat.

Due to their protected status, their nests, young and eggs are protected by law. Therefore, disturbing or destroying them can lead to fines of up to €200,000. This is stated in the Spanish Law on Natural Heritage and Biodiversity (Ley 42/2007).

Nesting Habits and Risks

Vencejos like to nest in high places because they have great difficulty taking off if they accidentally fall to the ground. It is common to find entire colonies nesting in one building, taking advantage of available cracks and holes. However, this choice of location makes them vulnerable to disruptions, especially during construction work.

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Climate change and challenges

Climate change affects the migration and breeding patterns and therefore the chances of survival of this bird species. According to data from environmental organisation SEO/BirdLife, the common swift has suffered a worrying 27.2% decline in Spain between 1998 and 2020.

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This species of swallow (‘vencejo’ in Spanish) plays an essential role in the conservation of ecosystems on the Iberian Peninsula. As insectivores, they help control pests such as mosquitoes, flies and other insects. An adult swift can consume between 200 and 400 insects daily, which they catch in full flight.

With this new legislation, Spain hopes to both protect the vencejos and increase awareness of the importance of these birds for the ecosystem.

Also read: Bird watching in Spain

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