Latvia swiftly chooses its Bird of 2022

The Latvian Ornithological Society (LOB) has on January 3 chosen the common swift (Apus apusas its bird of the year for 2022, and is inviting the public to report sightings of the bird during the next twelve months. 

Sightings of the Bird of 2022 (and other birds) can be swiftly recorded at Dabasdati.lv

According to the ornithological society, for the first time in over 25 years, the coveted title of the Bird of the Year has been awarded to an avian living primarily among humans – in towns and villages. The ornithologists wish to invite the society to learn to live alongside the swift.

The Latvian word for swift is svīre, presumably due to its call which has been transcribed as svīr - svīr (listen here), so look out for the annual celebrity if you hear the song. According to ornithologist Viesturs Ķerus, it should not be too difficult to encounter it as there are estimated to be 64 to 154 thousand families of swifts in Latvia. However, don't look for them just yet as swifts only return for the warmer months – May to September.

Housing renovation in Europe is considered to be a threat for the swift as it can reduce the locations it can make a nest and breed.  Latvian Ornithology Society suggests some practical advice: to carry out roof and attic repairs in times other than June to August, and not to close gaps where swifts could make nests. If gaps are closed, it is suggested to install suitable nestboxes.

The campaign Bird of the Year was launched in 1996 and has been active since.

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