Swift success of bird boxes
When bird lovers in Winchcombe decided to give the town’s swift population extra support, they turned to us for help.
The UK’s swift population has dropped by 60% in the past 25 years, meaning the British Trust for Ornithology has designated them a red-listed species, in need of urgent action.
One of the reasons for their decline is the loss of swift nesting sites in older buildings. Unlike other birds, such as the sparrow and starling, the swift nests in the nooks and crannies within the roofs and walls of buildings. As homes are modernised and repaired, nesting opportunities for swifts become rarer.
That’s why the Winchcombe Swift Support Group (WSSG) have made 40 nesting boxes – and members of our Evesham team volunteered to place them on 26 of the town’s buildings ready for the birds’ arrival at the start of summer.
Brian Weller, from WSSG, said: “Swifts are amazing birds – they travel 6,000 miles from the middle of Africa to raise their brood, risking starvation and exhaustion in the process. They only have one brood a year, which takes 20 days to hatch and six to eight weeks to fledge before they make the return trip. These are long periods compared to most other birds but once the swiftlet leaves the nest it will eat and sleep on the wing, so won’t touch down again for around nine months.”
WPD’s Wayleave Specialist Helen Alcock, who organised the volunteers, said: “We were approached for help because we have access to equipment for working at height. Kevin Upton, Lance Bennett and I were happy to help and fingers crossed the swifts decide to use the boxes.”
WSSG is also raising awareness with planners and builders of new housing developments to consider adding swift (universal) bricks to new builds, and inform homeowners about how they can still attract swifts when making roof repairs. The group also has information about making and fitting your own swift box.