Help bring swifts back to Harlow

Communities / Mon 17th Feb 2020 am29 09:09am

Bringing swifts back to Harlow

By Paul McLintic

SWIFTS are my favourite birds by far. They are the most spectacular acrobatic fliers we’ll ever see. But their numbers have dwindled and if we don’t protect them we’ll soon lose this amazing bird from our skies.

To help swifts return to Harlow I’m sponsoring ten swift boxes for residents who’ll put them up on their houses.

Why are there fewer swifts? One reason is a dramatic decline in airborne insects and spiders, feeding on which produces the swift’s extraordinary flying displays. Another reason is a lack of suitable nesting sites. Modern buildings have fewer hidey holes for them to get into to nest – as older buildings did.

But we can fix that by adding nesting boxes to the outside of our houses or by installing nesting bricks in new builds. Swifts congregate where they find suitable nesting sites so if we provide these sites we can attract swifts back to the town.

The swift – Latin name Apus apus

Swifts are clean so there is no mess around their nests. They are sociable and like to breed in colonies of several pairs close together. A group of nest boxes is known as a terrace.

Swifts need clear space below a nesting site so swift boxes should be fitted at about 5 metres or so high on a two or more-storey house. Under eaves is a good position and preferably not in full sun all day, so not on a south wall.

You can buy swift boxes from the RSPB and other suppliers. I’ve just installed four that are called “Model 30s” and I’m sponsoring a further ten boxes like them for other people living in Harlow to install – at least two per site. If you’d like a swift colony, please contact me through yourharlow.com.

Occupancy is not guaranteed but, once they move in, swifts tend to come back year after year to provide truly spectacular entertainment from May to late July.

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1 Comment for Help bring swifts back to Harlow:

2020-02-18 08:20:31

Hi I would love to get involved in this initiative please. I have spoken to our street (Coalport close) about this in the past & they are all very interested in helping could we please be considered please.

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