News Article05/06/2019

Struggling Swifts to get help in Old Town Poole

Partnership project between Birds of Poole Harbour and Poole-based PR agency Saltwater Stone pledges to help boost the numbers of a declining Swifts in the town centre by sponsoring the installation of nest boxes.

Spectacular aerobatic displays of swooping flocks of swifts, circling as they feed on airborne insects, have long been a familiar sight on summer evenings in the UK. Sadly, these birds have become a rarity in Poole, so maritime PR specialist Saltwater Stone is assisting a project run by the charity Birds of Poole Harbour to bolster the numbers of these remarkable long-distance migrants.

The quantity of common swifts visiting the country each year has declined by more than 50% since 1995, according to the British Trust for Ornithology, and the rate of decrease continues to accelerate. While some reasons for this decline lie in Africa, where they spend the majority of their lives, a reduction in suitable nesting sites in this country is also to blame.


Common Swift – Poole Park – Paul Morton


Swifts have traditionally made use of holes in man-made structures, nesting under roof tiles, in eaves, lofts, barns and spires. But renovation of old buildings and the drive to make homes more energy-efficient has meant many houses have been made impermeable for these visitors.

To encourage swifts to continue to breed in the heart of town, Birds of Poole Harbour and Saltwater Stone are putting up eight to ten purpose-built nest boxes. In order to encourage birds to use these boxes, they will contain equipment to play swift calls to make them more attractive, a technique that has been proved to work well for this species.

Saltwater Stone, based at Strand Street near Poole Quay, will be providing 50% of the funding for the ‘Swift City’ project. The firm’s founder and Managing Director, Georgina Bartlett, said: “I have lived and worked in Poole for 20 years but never seen a swift here. We hope that by providing nest boxes, we will encourage a colony of these remarkable birds to re-establish and thrive in the heart of our town for many future generations to enjoy.”

Birds of Poole Harbour is still seeking additional assistance for the project and donations can be made by visiting the charity’s JustGiving page at:

Birds of Poole Harbour founder Paul Morton added: “Swifts are incredibly charismatic and are true signs of summer. One of the major problems facing these birds is a lack of nesting sites – our modern buildings simply don’t have the nooks, crannies and cavities that swifts need to build their nests in.

“We hope that with this project we can safeguard their future here in Old Town Poole, where it’s likely they have been for many hundreds of years.”

About swifts:

Swifts are remarkable in that no other bird spends as much of its life in the air, feeding, mating and even sleeping in flight. The majority of their time is spent in Africa but each year they navigate thousands of miles to northern breeding grounds to nest and raise chicks before returning home in August. Characterised by scythe shaped wings and a forked tail, common swifts are dark brown in colour with lighter patches at their chins. Often swooping low and fast around buildings, they have a distinctive high-pitched call. In level flight, the common swift holds the record for the fastest recorded flight speed of any bird. 


Paul Morton (Birds of Poole Harbour) & Georgina Bartlett (Saltwater Stone)


About Saltwater Stone:

Saltwater Stone is a PR, design and communications consultancy delivering compelling strategic solutions to leading maritime brands. Offering integrated, full-service marketing support on a national, European and global level, Saltwater Stone can be engaged as a press relations partner, media planning agency or creative hub.

Saltwater Stone has been a central force within the global maritime industry for over 27 years. From cutting-edge technology and ground-breaking products to new boats and industry exhibitions, its 12-strong team has experience covering the entire oceanspace and beyond. For more information see:

About Birds of Poole Harbour:

Birds of Poole Harbour is a charity dedicated to educating people about the stunning variety of bird life in one of the country’s most picturesque locations. It aims to raise the profile of bird conservation, preservation and observation in and around this designated RAMSAR site which hosts nationally and internationally important species. For more information about Birds of Poole Harbour see:

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