Aude: heat and drought have caused the birds to fall from the sky

Birds that nest under roofs have particularly suffered from the heat wave. Many young black swifts fell from the nest seeking freshness. The League for the Protection of Birds (LPO) has been overwhelmed with calls from deprived individuals.

“Heat wave or not, there are always individuals falling from the nest”, relativizes Thais Provignon, at the Regional Center for the Protection of Wildlife in Villeveyrac in the Hérault. But if “all the fauna is suffering from the heat wave, birds like swallows, sparrows, black swifts have had a difficult time”even causing some birds to gasp to death as they travel miles and miles in search of a watering hole.

“The center has been going through difficult episodes for 3 or 4 years, and unfortunately it will get worse and worse”, notes bitterly the employee of the LPO of the backup center, which employs three employees, a seasonal worker, 5 or 6 volunteers in civic service and alternating about fifteen long-term volunteers. This summer, the Aude LPO based in Gruissan received around twenty calls a day from individuals who found swifts on the ground. “They are birds that nest under roofs or tiles, the young suffer and can fall while seeking freshness”, explains an LPO employee at the Mandirac lock. Injured birds are transported north of Sète for treatment.

What impact of climate change on migration?

A hundred black swifts were collected in Villeveyrac north of Sète, from all over the region. “The adults have already gone back to Africa”, explains the Aude interlocutor, “the swift having the particularity of not needing to be fed for its migration. The young therefore leave once they are able to do so.” Generally speaking, however, it is too early to say whether the heat and the drought are delaying the migrations. At the Aude LPO station at the Mandirac lock, “We had a lot of storks passing through a little earlier, but there are still some passing through. Some species seem to have left a little earlier, we will analyze that this winter”.

To help young swifts fallen from the nest, the rescue center in Hérault feeds them for 40 days in its structure every hour or every two hours. “We launched a mission of swift volunteers” so there were, recognizes Thais Provignon, who with his colleagues had to manage referrals to other centers or was forced to give advice to individuals. A delicate exercise, given “that it is illegal to keep a wild animal in your home”, it is therefore preferable to try first aid for 3 days. The LPO publishes a tutorial available on its website: https://aude.lpo.fr/

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