Giving Swifts a Home Using Sound
We are really excited to have installed four nesting boxes for Swifts on the exterior of our building in Winchester - and will be using acoustics to attract them.
Swift calls played through a small speaker fixed below the gutter will attract the birds to the new nesting boxes and alert them to the presence of potential new nesting sites when they return from Africa this summer.
Every year Swifts travel unimaginable distances from the UK down through western France and eastern Spain into Morocco, before crossing the Sahara desert and the Congo rainforest - finally reaching Mozambique. Swifts live up to their name, they have been recorded as flying 3,000 miles in five days and anything up to 17,000 miles in total. Swifts arrive back in the UK in early May and stay until the end of July. It’s awe-inspiring to think they will be nesting and raising their young right outside our office after this incredible journey, offering our staff an exceptional opportunity to connect with nature.
The population of Swifts has plummeted by more than 50% in the last twenty years. Research suggests that the main reason is a lack/loss of nesting sites for returning birds. In a bid to make our houses and buildings more energy efficient and air-tight modern construction methods do not leave the little gaps by which Swifts have historically entered their nests.
The great news is that it is easy to help Swifts! They will readily accommodate wooden nesting boxes and these are very reasonably priced to purchase and install. And unlike Swallows and House Martins they do not leave a lot of mess below. We have worked in partnership with Tim Norriss at Hampshire Swifts (link to www.hampshireswifts.co.uk) on this project and would like to offer Tim our sincere thanks for his expert advice and encouragement, and to our landlord for giving us permission.
You can help too. If you'd like to get involved the typical costs are:
£20 per nesting box (as image below)
£5 installation per box (depending on location)
£30 for the bird call speaker system to attract the birds to the new nesting sites.
Please connect with Katherine Howlett-Davies in our Sustainability Team for advice or any information you need to get your own acoustic nesting project going - we are happy to help – or contact www.hampshireswifts.co.uk
Roll on Summer 2019 - and the beautiful sound and sight of Swifts.