Sunday, 21 August 2016

RSPB Swift bricks

Found this article. worth a read:

With swift numbers and nesting sites in decline, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has worked closely with Barratt Homes and Manthorpe Building Products to create a new swift nest box in a brick format which can then easily be fitted in any new home.
Providing more nesting sites for swifts has been one of the aims of the partnership between RSPB and Barratt Homes, which launched in 2014 to look at how nature and wildlife could be incorporated into new communities. Working together, they commissioned UK manufacturing company Manthorpe to develop a new swift nest box design that could be easily installed during construction.
Michael Finn, group design and technical director at Barratt Developments, said, “The bricks are an industry first – they are fully drained, ventilated and are unobtrusive, by matching the colour of the bricks. They also help nurture chicks by giving them room to stand when they hatch. Crucially too, they are much, much cheaper than any other swift brick on the market, which will help their uptake. We actively want other developers to use the brick so we can all help build swift populations. It’s a great example of how we are working together with the RSPB and the wider industry to support nature.”
Darren Moorcroft, RSPB’s head of species and habitats conservation, said, “In previous centuries builders would often create spaces for swifts, but these techniques have fallen out of practice with modern homes. Our partnership with Barratt Homes has allowed us to share ideas and look at how we can bring this practice back in a way that works for builders, home owners and the swifts.”
Gareth Wright, sales director at Manthorpe Building Products Ltd, said, “The product is already gaining a lot of interest and due to its ease of fitting and competitive price builders are able to incorporate this product into their new homes with no disruption to the build and no need to incorporate any design changes to existing house types.”
Dick Newell, Action for Swifts, said, “If we are to compensate the loss of thousands of Swift nesting places every year due to insulation and roof repairs, we need to deploy thousands of nest boxes.  A product like this is a great step forward in making this happen.”
Due to the desperate decline of the swift population RSPB and Barratt Homes have agreed that the swift box will be available to other builders and developers

Friday, 12 August 2016

HLF meeting

A meeting was held this morning in Cowbridge to discuss a potential HLF bid for funding for Swift towers. A lot of ground was covered ... lots of follow up action points.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Bridgend Summary

I was able to confirm nesting at three locations in Bridgend, as follows:

Heronsbridge School - two pairs minimum.
Oldcastle School - I saw one Swift fly onto a nest hole here, there could be more. Good to see House Martins also nesting here. The school is part of the eco scheme and would be a good site for boxes, but the height might be an issue.
Court Road - one definite nest on KTP Solicitors, although I think it likely that more are present, given the suitability of the buildings and birds overhead the area throughout the breeding season. Another suitable candidate for boxes.

I suspect breeding in Bridgend just north of the town centre (Coity Road area) and to the south at Preswylfa Court, given the presence of Swifts during the breeding season, but unable to confirm. 
Overall, though, it seems apparent that Swifts have declined in the town since I arrived in the 80s, with birds no longer nesting at a number of locations that used to hold them.