Baby black swifts find adoptive parents at the airport


19.07.2022

They are orphans, emit shrill cries and cannot yet fly. These baby swifts, victims of the heat wave, have found refuge in the nesting boxes installed on the facades of the large hangar at Geneva airport. Adoptive parents will take them under their wings until they can fly to Africa. 

23 baby swifts found their host family on the airport platform on Tuesday. Most of these survivors were brought back by the Geneva population to the Ornithological Rehabilitation Centre (COR) in Genthod. This gesture is important because the black swift is a protected species at the cantonal and federal level. "During hot weather, the temperature of the nests can be unbearable. Driven by their survival instinct, the chicks jump, even if they can't fly yet. They fall to the ground and passers-by bring them back to us," explains Patrick Jacot, president of the institution. 
 

Since mid-May, about 70 birds have been cared for. On Tuesday, 36 of them were brought to the foot of the large shed to find a new family. The ROC teams, supported by the Animal Peril Prevention Unit (PPA), climbed onto a gondola to reach the 53 nesting boxes fixed at a height of around 40 metres. This very high, open spot with its back to the runway is particularly suitable for this species, which is known to arrive in its shelter at full speed, sometimes 70 km/h! 


























Promoting biodiversity

Each nesting box was carefully inspected with an endoscopic camera. "A pair cannot take care of more than three young. So it is decided on the spot how many orphans can be integrated. When they return, the parents feed all the occupants, without being able to distinguish between them," explains Charlotte from the Ornithological Centre.    

For several years, Genève Aéroport has been trying to promote biodiversity on the platform. "Green roofs, shelters for bats or ermines in the meadows, and nesting boxes are very concrete measures that go in this direction," explains Louise Gilbert, environmental project manager.   

In a few days or weeks, the 23 chicks placed in "foster care" will be able to take off for Africa. 



 

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