Swift Conservation at The Priory
Swifts have declined by about 50% over the past 20 years or so and are still declining at 3 to 4% a year.
During the summer of 2018 The Friends, with the support of the Trustees, purchased six new nesting boxes for Swifts which we installed on Fletchers Lea in time for the return of the Swifts from Africa in the Spring of 2019.
The nest boxes incorporate a "call" system which we hope will help entice those returning Swifts, which don't have an established nesting site, to investigate and use the new boxes.
Thanks go to Adrian Grover for installing the boxes for us.
Nationally, Swifts are in decline, due mainly to the loss of nesting sites as older buildings are demolished along with traditional Swift nesting sites. New buildings often do not include any facility for Swifts, such as Swift “bricks”, and are not suitable for nesting boxes for one reason or another. The replacement of older wooden facia boards with long lasting uPVC boards and the sealing of cavities under the eaves, also significantly reduces the options for Swifts.
The swift is a medium-sized aerial bird, which is a superb flier. It evens sleeps on the wing! It is plain sooty brown, but in flight against the sky it appears black. It has long, scythe-like wings and a short, forked tail. It is a summer visitor, breeding across the UK, but most numerously in the south and east. It winters in Africa.
(Information from RSPB.org.uk)
Sadly, since installation in Spring 2019, we haven't managed to attract any nesting Swifts but we do know that it can take many years and our nesting boxes are relatively new.
Ware usually has a good population of Swifts during the summer months, they can be seen and heard "screaming" overhead, often at quite low levels. There are several well established nesting sites in use within the town.
We stay positive and live in hope that we will eventually attract at least one pair of breeding Swifts - and we only need one pair to start us off!
We look forward to 2022 with new hope - as we always do!