in Hand Photo Gordon Riddle
|Concern for Swifts is a project which aims
to focus on swift nest site conservation.
is international in its scope
and has links with groups and individuals working for swift nest
site conservation in England, Scotland, Holland, Germany, France,
Poland and Palestine (where they have to dodge Israeli bombs to
carry out their work). Most of the projects have been set up since
1995 and independently of each other, which gives the significant
that swifts are loved and admired by urban populations as contributing
to the quality of the urban environment.
Secondly that the threat to swifts
is becoming obvious to many concerned individuals across their (the
swifts!) nesting range.
|There is considerable
and mounting evidence (some
of it documented, some of it anecdotal) of
loss of nest sites through development and a resulting loss
of swift colonies. But there has also been potential
loss of sites and colonies which have only been saved by the endeavours
of concerned individuals.
Examples of these are:-
||roof replacements in Amsterdam
||housing renovation in Bedford
||works to a ruined castle in
|This may not be only reason for all
noted decline in swift numbers, but it is certainly the only reason
we are aware of, are directly responsible for and ought to do something
nest sites is not technically difficult or expensive
- in fact the best solutions are usually free - but it may require
persistence and a willingness to check that agreed work is actually
carried out. Contractors do not always remember to carry out those
little additional works when running to tight schedules and dodging
adapted to nesting almost exclusively in buildings
(but click "where swifts nest" for swifts nesting in old
woodpecker holes).We would be delighted to receive information of
swifts nesting in a "natural" site.
been man-made swift nest-sites in the past. Perhaps
the first swift nest site project was in Tuscany, where a tower
was built specifically to attract swifts so that the young could
be harvested for food!
The tower of the Museum of Science in Oxford (where David
Lack and others installed boxes in 1948 for the purpose of studying
the birds) is a well-known and early example of provision for swifts.
At The Hirsel, in Coldstream,
Major John Douglas Hume, the naturalist, put up boxes in 1950-54.
swifts are dependant on small holes
on the outside of a building giving access to a larger space within.
Most modern building methods take every precaution to ensure that
there are no small holes
or gaps and many modern materials (like plastics, metals and reinforced
concrete) do not deteriorate to form suitable holes and gaps.
are given of the types of building renovation and repair which destroy
swift nest sites (click "threats").
modern buildings and renovation schemes offer opportunities
for creating in-built nest cavities or nest boxes which are cheap
or cost-free and simple to provide. Please check out these opportunities
before reaching for the nest box. Ask the architect and the contractor
if they have ideas. Contract managers and site agents have been
almost unfailingly interested, helpful and ready to suggest possibilities
from their wider expertise in building construction. We have had
greater support and interest from these people than from some more