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First Alpine Swift at the GSPCA & 10th recorded in Guernsey

First Alpine Swift at the GSPCA & 10th recorded in Guernsey

Thursday 30 March 2023

First Alpine Swift at the GSPCA & 10th recorded in Guernsey

MEDIA RELEASE: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not Bailiwick Express, and the text is reproduced exactly as supplied to us

On Friday for the first time the GSPCA were called out to what was either an injured pigeon or bird of prey at Admiral Park.

GSPCA Ambulance Driver Neil Hughes was quickly dispatched to find neither but instead a bird that we have never rescued before at the GSPCA.

Neil kindly rescued and returned the stunned bird to the GSPCA where it was neither identified as a bird of prey nor a pigeon but a species that migrates 1000’s miles and is rarely seen in Guernsey.

To see a video of the release please visit

To donate to her our work please go to

Steve Byrne GSPCA Manager said, “Friday was a first for the team at the GSPCA as in our 150-year history we have never rescued an Alpine Swift.”

“We had the call around midday and team member Neil quickly responded but we weren’t expecting what we were called out for.”

“Many calls are for species that when we get there aren’t what we are expecting but Neil thought he was on route for a pigeon or bird of prey instead it was an Alpine Swift which is only the 10th official record in Guernsey.”



“Once landed swifts struggle to take off from the ground and often when we are called to similar species they are often stunned as they have hit a window or car.”

“We named the bird Taylor and very soon after a spell in an intensive care unit the bird seemed to be responding well so we called local bird ringer Jamie Hooper who was delighted to come and help both ring the bird and help with the release.”


Abby Domaille GSPCA Animal Care Assistant said “This was a first for me as these birds are so rare in Guernsey.”

“Thankfully only needed a short rest and then we got him back into the wild to carry on his travels.”

Jamie Hooper said, “This was a huge highlight of the day!”

“Well done to the GSPCA for a quick rescue and a happy ending for this rare Alpine Swift.”

Steve continued “We are currently fundraising for a new Wildlife Hospital to help the 1000’s wild animals through our doors and celebrate 150 years to find out more ways to support this and other projects please visit .”

“If you find sick or injured wildlife you can call 24/7 on 257261 or check out our website for more details .”

Alpine Swift facts –

What Do They Prey On? Insects, seeds, and bacteria

What Do They Eat?

Omnivore Average Litter Size? 4 eggs

How Much Do They Weigh? 0.22 lb (100 g)

How Long Are They? 7.9-9.1 in (20-23 cm)

What Do They Look Like?

Dark brown What Were Their Main Threats?

Humans Where You'll Find Them? Marshes, Swamps, Mountains, Cliffs, Suburbs & Forested Areas Locations North-western Iran & Anatolia, Northern Morocco, Southern Europe & Asia with more recent sightings in the UK

Animalia Genus Tachymarptis

Class Aves

Family Apodidae

The GSPCA was recently delighted to announce that planning has been approved for a new Wildlife Hospital at the GSPCA. You can help this much-needed facility become a reality by Buying a Brick to a Build Partner.

Could you Buy a Brick? We can put the certificate and Engraved Brick in the name of a friend, in memory, your company, or a loved one and there are many goodies you will get as part of this kind of gift helping us build for the future to help wildlife in Guernsey.

We now have permission which includes demolishing several very old buildings one of which dates back to the 1940s.

We need your help. We have raised an amazing £300,000 towards the estimated costs for the facility which are approximately £2,000,000 to build the GSPCA Wildlife Hospital and to remove the old buildings.

There are several ways you can help including the Buy a Brick such as donating to this much-needed project or could your group, trust or business help in much bigger ways – To make a direct donation please visit -

To Buy a Brick in the new Wildlife Hospital and download a leaflet please click here -

To become a larger donor or as a corporate, you may want to make a larger donation and become an Exclusive Build Partner to find out more please visit -

The next step is go to tender, but for those wanting to help in much larger ways here are the estimated costs for some of the facilities that make up the £2,000,000 –

Demolitions £70,000
Sub-structure £80,000
Drainage £99,000
Slab £160,000
Roof £263,000
External Walls £180,000
Glazing to whole build £70,000
Each rehabilitation room £40,000
Central feed kitchen £35,000
Each marine rehabilitation room and access to pool £30,000
Rehabilitation Pool – to be confirmed Rehabilitation aviaries/pens - £15-20,000 each
Receiving office where the public can drop animals off and they can be admitted and entered into the system - £25-30,000

With 6 seals currently at the GSPCA and over 120 hedgehogs, not to mention many other injured birds and wild rabbits you would think the GSPCA is extremely busy and you would be correct.

The new Wildlife Hospital will help house the 2500+ wildlife that come through the GSPCA doors each year and with our environment a major concern a facility that would help benefit future generations.

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