Swift conservation group calls for action


A local group that is attempting to reverse the decline of Common Swifts in Greater Manchester has warned that numbers are still dropping.

A number of reasons have led to a declining population of swifts in Bolton, including the destruction and boarding up of their nesting locations. A local volunteer group, Bolton and Bury Swifts, has urged people to do their bit to save the species.

Common Swift continues to decline in Greater Manchester (Jack Bucknall).

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Louise Bentley, a volunteer at the group, said: "Our groups focuses on all birds, but mainly swifts and House Martins. They are dependant on buildings, not trees, ever since humans got rid of their natural woodland years and years ago.

"I often ask people to consider getting swift bricks put into their homes to give them a place to stay. They tuck right under the roofline and provide a safe nesting place for the birds. We try and raise awareness with builders, developers and architects; one group of developers actually installed swift bricks into new homes being built after we emailed them about it."

Swift bricks provide a mechanism for building nesting accommodation for swifts into brickwork. They are available from a range of suppliers and can easily be embedded into walls. Bird boxes can alternatively be used to provide a place for the animals to stay.

Louise added: "Swifts will put on the most wonderful displays and they are one of the fastest birds in the world, so I always try and get people to look after them and to learn more. They get quite distressed when their homes get boarded up so swift bricks can make it easier for people."