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New nesting boxes for Alpine swifts

Alpine swifts have been nesting on the Alpiq tower in Olten for around five years. They used to breed behind the logo on the façade. At the end of March 2020, Alpiq joined forces with the Ornithological Association of Olten (OVO) to install nine nesting boxes for these fascinating birds.

Alpine swifts are an extraordinary bird species. They have disappeared from the Alps and today populate high, prominent buildings in the cities. They are potentially endangered, as there are about 2,000 breeding pairs left in Switzerland. The OVO approached Alpiq to build new nesting places for the birds. The idea found an open ear at Alpiq. The independent steering committee of the Alpiq Eco Fund agreed to provide financial support for the project.

The carpenter Urs Esslinger built nine nesting boxes and set them up for up to 23 breeding pairs. According to the information from the Swiss Ornithological Institute, the location on the underside of the roof is ideal: almost 28 meters above ground and protected from rain and moisture. In mid-April the Alpine Swift returned from their winter residence in tropical Africa.

Alpine swifts spend almost their whole life in the air. They only land for breeding and can maintain all important life functions in continuous flight. They eat, drink, clean and mate in flight. They can even sleep in the air. Sometimes Alpine swifts do not set foot on solid ground for more than half a year. The birds in Olten circle above the town and the Jura heights during the day, take in food during the flight and feed it to their young in the evening.

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