A Climate Action Ilkley project to stop the ongoing decline in the local swift population in both Ilkley and Addingham is making good progress. The project team is now seeking more help from local residents with locating and mapping existing nest sites, as well as volunteers to install new nest boxes.
Swifts remain in the UK for just four months of the year, from May to August. But this is a very critical period for the swift because this is when they breed. And to breed they need nesting sites. Our local Victorian housing stock is perfect for swifts, but only if their favoured nesting sites, in crevices under the roof eaves, have not been blocked by housing renovation work.
If renovation work has resulted in a loss of nesting sites all is not lost, if house-owners are prepared to put up swift nesting boxes.
Ilkley SoS project has now raised over £500 to help pay for the installation of swift nesting boxes. Numerous householders have already expressed an interests in having them installed.
A spokesperson for the protect team explains how residents can get involved:
“The best place to install the boxes is adjacent to existing swift colonies. To this end, the team has been mapping existing swift nest sites on an RSPB web application called “Swiftmapper” (www.swiftmapper.org.uk). It’s downloadable for free and easy to use, but only if you know exactly what a swift looks like. Whilst they are larger and completely black, they can easily be confused with swallows and house martins. So if you are in any doubt please contact the project team at the email address below.
“There are known colonies in the areas around Ash Grove, Castle Road and Alexander Crescent. Nests have also been mapped on Regent Road and Chantry Drive. Thirteen nests have now been located and mapped altogether. But the team is confident that there are many more and is appealing to local residents to help them locate and map them. The next week or two is a final opportunity to find and map local nesting sites ahead of the swifts’ return to Africa.
“Installing nest boxes will help to expand these existing colonies. It is also hoped that new colonies can be established at key sites. Swift nesting boxes can be popular with other species such as sparrows so it is best to install them immediately ahead of the swifts’ arrival in April 2022."
If you are interested in helping to map existing sites or in having a swift box installed next April please contact the project team at email@example.com.