Public support helps save swift fledglings with record number rehabilitated and released this summer

September 4, 2018 12:50 pm

This summer, BirdLife Malta received a record number of 10 swifts (both Common and Pallid) after being 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, but during the summer, swifts are the most common birds in need of help. This species visits us each year to nest in areas like Mdina, Sliema, St Julians and San Ġwann.

A record number of swift fledglings that were abandoned after falling from their nests were recently released successfully by BirdLife Malta (All photos by BirdLife Malta)

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 once 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!

BirdLife Malta project aims to provide new breeding spots to increase swift breeding success in Malta

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. At BirdLife Malta we are providing new breeding spots through our breeding birds project, installing and monitoring nest boxes specially adapted for swifts, as well as many other species. This project is funded under the Conservation of Wild Birds Funding Scheme.

We would like to thank the public for helping us save abandoned fledglings. Members of the public who find stranded, injured or distressed birds are kindly requested to contact BirdLife Malta on 2134 7645/6 during office hours and on 7925 5697 after office hours.

Read the Maltese version of the press release here. The pictures and the video below recount the swift fledglings’ rehabilitation process right up to their release.