Swifts, described in the Times as "those soaring harbingers of summer", have declined in population by 47% in the last twenty years in the UK, and some suspect it might be because of people fixing their houses.
Sarah Niemann, species recovery officer at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, is quoted in the Times:
"There may be a variety of stresses on the birds, but certainly there has been a big trend in making houses look smart.
"We are not suggesting people should not renovate their homes or repair their roofs. But we would prefer it if people kept original nest sites, and if they can't, to make new holes in the same spot so the birds can return."
The normally sensible Independent blames modern architecture as well as renovations.
Like members of the swallow family — which they resemble in appearance, but to which they are unrelated — they have adapted to human habitation, squeezing through gaps under the eaves of houses, town halls and churches to make nests, typically on the beam on which roof rafters rest, where they are safe from predators.
But the way is being barred. Many buildings erected in the past 50 years do not have such gaps and, as older housing is renovated, nesting opportunities for swifts are disappearing all over the country. Modern buildings, especially those made using steel and glass, are a swift no-go area, and numbers are tumbling.
Sigh. Is there anything that modern architecture is NOT blamed for? More in the Independent