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Swiftly does it

23 April 20

Swiftly does it

swift bird sitting down

We have recently installed 14 swift boxes across six our sites. The boxes include 42 nesting compartments for the fast-flying birds. 

Asset Scientist Natasha Gloor explains:

"Last year, we were contacted by a group of Bengeo residents in Hertfordshire who were keen to get swift boxes put up underneath the local water tower, as part of a drive to increase the number of the declining swift population. 

“Unfortunately, we were unable to install the boxes at Bengeo due to the operational nature of the site, but we were keen to find some alternative places to create nesting opportunities and have been working with local residents, a local councillor, RSPB and Swift Conservation to get the project underway.

“During February and March, 14 boxes were installed at Berkhamsted, Bow Bridge, Bricket Wood, Holywell Hill, Piccotts End and Shakespeare Road. The swifts usually return from central and southern Africa around May, so we wanted to get them up in good time. We’ve installed triple cavity boxes which are suitable for three swift pairs, enabling the fast formations of small swift colonies.” 

Once the Coronavirus lockdown has ended and life returns to normal, we plansto survey more sites as have six more boxes waiting to be installed. We will also monitor the swift boxes to see if the birds have any fledglings.

Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust have also installed swift boxes on our behalf at Hilfield Park Reservoir. They identified this as a good location for a swift colony, and to encourage swifts to the site, they’re installing a ‘tweeter’ which plays swift calls to alert swifts of the location.

“I’m really pleased to get involved with this project,” said Natasha. “It’s fantastic to know that we’ll be making a difference to the population of these beautiful birds.” 

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