Swifts are an iconic species of bird in the UK, with their signature silhouette instantly recognisable, but in just under 20 years their population has declined by a staggering 45%.
Swifts like to nest in nooks and crannies. One of the reasons for their decline is a lack of nesting sites caused by many new buildings being built without nesting opportunities for swifts and old buildings being knocked down or repaired.
Swifts are a priority species in the Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). As part of the nature recovery efforts in the AONB, steps are being taken to boost the numbers of swifts by installing nest boxes on tall buildings and playing their calls to attract them. Ideal places for nest boxes are under eaves, on or in gables, or high walls.
To help facilitate this, the AONB team has numerous swift nest boxes that can be given out for free to expand the size of existing swift colonies, or to establish new ones.
One successful project underway is the Leiston Loves Swifts project, supported by funds from the Galloper Wind Farm Fund. The project has helped provide homes for swifts in three distinct locations: Leiston, Thorpeness and Middleton. So far, more than 100 nest boxes and 18 swift callers have been installed at 20 different locations.
Alex Moore da Luz, Nature Recovery Officer for the Coast & Heaths AONB who has overseen the project said:
“The Leiston Loves Swifts project is a great example of how we can help swifts and address population decline through simple steps. The nest boxes that have been installed have given swifts greater opportunities to nest and colonise in the area and we hope to see this continue over the coming years.”
The Project has been very popular with residents and businesses in the Leiston area, so much so that all the boxes and callers have been allocated. Additional funds have been secured thanks to funding from Defra and further boxes and callers are now available to households and businesses within the AONB.
If you would like to apply for some free swift boxes and swift caller too, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, if you would like to volunteer to help swifts in the area, you can find out more at www.suffolkcoastandheaths.org/swifts.