News Article15/05/2020

Birds of Poole Harbour Swift Project – Continued 2020

Lockdown has been a long, and for many people, difficult process. People have found comfort and hope in nature by tuning into nest cams, counting birds in their garden and listening to their local dawn choruses. But what about nature it’s self? How has that coped with no people or disturbances in the landscape? Time will tell, depending on whether any breeding bird surveys or ringing can take place later in the year but are there opportunities to help now?

As a conservation charity not only have we been struggling not meeting and speaking to people about our work via our public bird boat scheme or engaging in chat in our HQ. We’ve been desperate to get some practical conservation work up and running too.

Last year thanks to a kind donation from local business Saltwater Stone we were able to kickstart our Swift City project by erecting several new Swift boxes up and around Old Town Poole. Parallel to this we also hosted a public fundraiser to help us spread the project further across the harbour with aim of getting more boxes up this spring. Then Covid-19 hit and we were stopped in our tracks.

Swifts have declined as a breeding species in the UK by 58% since 1995 which is a startling statistic. The RSPB also recently launched an appeal for Swift sightings across the UK by creating this SWIFT MAPPER, which allows people to input nesting Swift locations across the country.

We were also keen to act and get things moving again to help Swifts, so before the breeding season had gone too far we quickly identified a series of new locations for Swift nest boxes at other sites in the harbour, using contacts of ours within ‘Swift Hotspots’ who kindly provided data and sightings to us, meaning we didn’t need to leave our houses. With the new locations identified we had a series of new Swift boxes made locally (online order times were several weeks)! And we’ve now arranged with homeowners for us to come and install them quickly and safely just in time for the breeding season.

So, huge thanks to everyone that contributed last year, we’re now (today and early next week) getting the boxes up (15 more in total) in the hope that Swifts will start using them this summer, therefore helping to bolster and increase existing populations around then harbour……..lets see what happens!

Some of our new Swift Boxes

Inside design – The minimalistic look

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