Theatre uses sound system to draw in swifts as they return to nest
- Credit: Jo Leverett
Six new nest boxes are being installed at an arts centre in Halesworth ready for the anticipated arrival of some long distance travellers returning from Africa.
A swoop of swifts left Halesworth last August after a successful nesting season and headed off to warmer climes but it is expected many will return this spring ready to welcome another crop of new arrivals.
However, some of their traditional nesting sites around the town will have disappeared as buildings are renovated and nests dismantled so new sites are being created for the long-distance travellers through the Making Space for Swifts in Halesworth project.
The Cut Arts Centre is installing six new swift nest boxes high up so the returning birds can find a new safe haven. There will also be a sound system playing swift calls to attract them to the new boxes.
Lovewell Blake Chartered Accountants and Financial Planners are also making space for nest boxes at their Halesworth office near The Cut
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Several other commercial buildings in Halesworth including the World Land Trust in the Thoroughfare already have swift boxes in place and there are also boxes on some private properties in Halesworth and Holton. The owners are delighted when "their" swifts return year after year.
Now others are being encouraged to follow in their footsteps.
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A spokesman for the project said: "If your office building has swifts nesting, or is near a building that you know has swifts visiting, please consider having a nest box on your building.
"The design of modern buildings often leaves no space in which swifts can nest. Nest boxes can be added to (or even built in to) buildings to provide a nesting space for swifts. Swifts do not make a mess."
The Halesworth project is of the wider Safe our Suffolk Swifts partnership between Suffolk Wildlife Trust and Suffolk Ornithologists’ Group and sees members working across the county to record swift activity and encourage individuals and businesses to provide nest boxes.
Meanwhile, developers Hopkins Homes have committed to include swift bricks in all their new builds.
Swifts traditionally nested in hollow trees, caves, and rocky crevices. Now they have mostly become reliant on buildings, nesting under the eaves.
The birds are monogamous, pairing for life, and will return to the same nest site each year. You could have the same pair of swifts nesting under your eaves for over a decade.
Once the baby swifts have fledged and left the nest they do not land for three years. They stay in the air day and night until it is time for them to fly to north to Europe to begin breeding.