This project began with the objective of mapping the nests of swallows, house martins and swifts in the town of Vejer de la Frontera to collect data on the colonies and nests that are destroyed. We then began to work on an application, as a tool to locate and register the nests and colonies that could be used to aid the conservation of these urban species. The application was developed to facilitate the registration of nests and the monitoring of colonies. The application is combined with information, resources an educational activities.

Swallows, house martins and swifts choose to nest near humans in our towns and cities. They are all insectivores, eating large amounts of insects and have generally been tolerated by humans for the benefit they bring. They are migratory birds that come to Europe to breed in spring and winter in sub-Saharan Africa.

All of these species are in decline; in 2014 the swallow was the bird of the year SEO due to a 30% decline in the last 10 years. Pesticide use and insect decline and change in agricultural practices have affected all insect eating birds. Deliberate nest destruction and loss of nesting sites also contribute to this decline. When nesting sites are lost, they are not easily replaced.

As these birds live in close proximity to humans, their presence acts as an indicator of the environmental health of the cities they inhabit. Where there are swifts, swallows and house martins, the environment is healthy for people because our health is mutually dependent. The objective of this project is to observe how we coexist with these neighbours, the birds. The application was developed to facilitate the monitoring of species.

1. PROTECT. Development of an application to facilitate mapping and long-term data collection. This was done in the hope that it would be a useful tool for groups that want to carry out census and locate nests and colonies in other municipalities. If you want to use the app to map the nest where you live you can find instructions and a methodology to use the app here.
2. ACTIVITIES: Promote activities that integrate people and place, calling attention to these birds and the relationship we have with them. Providing solutions, such as placing shelves under existing nests as a solution to the problems of “dirty” facades. Workshops for the creation of artificial nests. Urban bird walks and public activities to raise awareness and inform about the insectivorous birds that live in our cities and the importance they have in our urban ecosystems.
3. RESOURCES: The application was designed to go hand in hand with a set of educational resources. Digital publications, educational resources, workshop instructions, information brochures and posters made available to allow local groups in other areas to start campaigns in their villages and towns.