A COUNTY-wide wildlife group with a branch in Oswestry is urging residents in the town to do all they can to help thwart the decline of swifts in the country.

The Shropshire Wildlife Trust is encouraging people to be mindful of the birds and help to keep them in the country by making an environment which suits them better.

People are encouraged to do this by ensuring nesting holes are kept open when carrying out roof renovations or insulation work, or putting up a swift box at a height of at least five metres.

They can also help by keeping records of swifts entering holes in buildings, telling the local record centre and refraining using of garden chemicals to support the insect population.

A spokesman for the wildlife group has encouraged people to help where possible.

They said: “Nests are made in crevices in walls, under roof eaves or inside pantiles. Gathering materials takes time - all the feathers, wisps of grass, tree seeds and flower sepals must be found on the wind, blowing about in the air.

“For thousands of years swifts lived alongside us, because the homes and other buildings we constructed for ourselves have also suited them.

“Today though, we are making it much harder for these birds to survive. Reduced abundance of insects and a catastrophic loss of nesting cavities have led to a 50 per cent decline over the last 20 years.”