SALISBURY AND WILTON SWIFTS
We welcome volunteers to help in this project. Whether you would like to help with promotion, nest box building and installation, surveying for nest sites or any other role – please get in touch through our Contact Us page.
Nest Boxes are Great - Nest Bricks are Probably Better!
Here's how you can influence the builders and planners to make this happen.
The number of swifts breeding in the UK is falling at an alarming rate, a 53% decline between 1995 and 2019, and were reclassified as a 'red-listed' species on the UK list of Birds of Conservation Concern in 2021. To slow down the decline and hopefully one day reverse it, we need to create thousands of new nesting sites every year and what better way when we are in midst of a house building boom, than to use this opportunity to incorporate nesting sites in all new developments! With a stroke of a pen we can provide swifts and other small building dependent species such as the red-listed house sparrow, blue tits and great tits with new homes and enliven our environment at the same time. Unlike external nest boxes, which will last maybe up to 20 years, nest bricks last the lifetime of the building.
We are trying to encourage the Local Authority, developers, architects, and ecologists to think ‘swift’ when working on planning applications. If you have some spare time and would be interested in helping out we would love to hear from you. It may be checking planning applications in your area or letting us know if there is work planned on houses where you know there are swifts nesting, it all helps to raise the awareness of the plight of this plucky little bird. Please email us through the Contact Us page for more information.
In order to save existing nesting sites from destruction, it is important that we know where they are nesting. Unfortunately, nest sites are only protected when the birds are on the nest but we can still hope to encourage building owners to keep the nest sites available if they are renovating or repairing.
What to look for
Watch out for groups of swifts flying fast at roof height, often screaming loudly – this means they’re breeding nearby. Swifts nest in holes, so we’d also like to know if you see swifts entering holes in buildings. If you can see a nest structure, it doesn’t belong to a swift.
Please don’t report swifts flying high in the sky, feeding over water or fields, or away from settlements. These birds could have travelled long distances and may not be local breeding birds.
If you know of a local Swift nesting site you can register it on the RSPB website or download the Swift Mapper App from the same page for your phone and/or contact Daniel to show him the site.