Swift Apus apus Two young at nest _ Southwater, Sussex S

The heat wave also has a significant impact on bird life in Berlin. “In particular, building breeders such as common swifts, house sparrows, barn swallows and house martins have suffered from the extremely high temperatures,” says Marc Engler, head of the Berlin wild bird station, which belongs to the regional association of the Berlin Nature Conservation Union (Nabu).

Swifts were the hardest hit. “They often breed just under the metal siding of roof edges and eaves,” says Engler. “Of course, these heat up extremely, and the hatched young birds then jump out of the nest onto the road early to escape from the heat.”

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The five employees at the wild bird station recognized how big the problem was from the number of calls during the heat wave. “During this phase, we had up to 30 calls per hour,” says Engler.

“And it was primarily about young swifts that were found on the ground.” But the fate of other wild birds also prompted concerned citizens to call the wild bird station.

The wave of calls was so large “that we were sometimes only able to answer inquiries after three hours or not at all,” says Engler. “We were absolutely at the limit of capacity. But that should apply to other wildlife support organizations as well.”

It is difficult to assess how severe the overall impact on bird life was. “But you can feel it, and such extreme events always have to be viewed against the background of climate change.” Last year, the wild bird station registered a total of 4,300 calls, most of which came between April and August.

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The rush to the wild bird station was so great at times in the past few weeks that its employees appealed to citizens to take the initiative. “Not all requests can be processed at the moment! Establish contact with other facilities parallel to the wild bird station – even in the event that the station staff cannot call you back. This currently applies in particular to swifts!” the wild bird station announced publicly.

The consequences of the heat wave are particularly worrying in the case of the common swift. After their numbers had decreased last year, significantly more birds were counted this year than in 2021.

“Of course that’s gratifying, because Berlin, with its high density of swifts, has a supra-regional responsibility. But it also means that more needy young birds from active broods can be affected by the heat,” says Engler. A lack of food in Berlin due to the decline in insect numbers amplifies this effect.

Nabu is working with Berlin property management companies to promote breeding and adoption opportunities for swifts.

The wild bird station primarily provides advice on wild bird-related topics and the care and release of injured wild birds. “We want to make a sustainable contribution to species and nature conservation,” says Engler.

Callers report injured wild birds that have crashed into windows, been attacked by a cat, or have a fish hook in their beak. After diagnosis and treatment in the small animal clinic of the FU, the wild bird station takes over the birds and releases them back into the wild.

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However, many people also call, mistakenly believing that a fledgling sitting on the ground is in distress. However, the Nabu emphasizes that this is often not the case, because many young birds are not quite able to fly in the so-called fledgling phase. The parents are nearby, they keep an eye on their offspring.

An employee of the Nabu regional association therefore urges you not to call the wild bird station immediately for every bird that is sitting on the street. Decision-making aids and guidelines on the website of the wild bird sanctuary help to assess the situation.

With young swifts lying helplessly on the grass or asphalt, it is of course something different. In such cases, the online information material of the Common Swift Clinic in Frankfurt am Main provides a lot of information.