Conservationists from Chester Zoo are calling on the public to help save a bird they say is in rapid decline.

The swift – which can fly non-stop for four years, is one of the UK’s most iconic species, migrating from Africa up through Europe every spring to nest in the UK over summer.

Since Roman times they have nested in eaves and holes in buildings but thanks to improvements to UK buildings in recent decades, they are arriving afetr their long journey to find a lack of nesting sites.

Now the first major swift survey in the Chester area for 20 years is underway and experts are offering tips on how you can lend a helping hand to the British favourite by protecting nest sites and putting up nest boxes.

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Conservationists from Chester Zoo’s Wildlife Connections campaign and the Chester RSPB Group have teamed up with Cheshire West and Chester Council, RECORD, Cheshire Wildlife Trust, the Cheshire biological records centre and local experts in a bid to help the bird by turning Chester into a swift friendly city.

Manon Keir, Wildlife Connections project officer at Chester Zoo, said: “The great British summer would not be the same without the sight and sounds of swifts gracing our skies, but we mustn’t take this for granted. Conservation is critical but it is certainly not too late.

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“Every one of us can make a difference. There is a simple video guide on the Chester Zoo website demonstrating how to make a swift nest box for your garden. And the RSPB Chester Group are recruiting volunteers for the 2017 swift survey. It’s time to act for wildlife together.”

Roger Nutter from RSPB Chester Group, added: “In summer 2016, more than 200 records were submitted in the first phase of the Chester Swift Survey. We hope that even more people will take part in 2017.”

Volunteers who would like to help with the survey should contact Chester RSPB Group through www.rspb.org.uk/groups/chester.”