Swifts at St George’s?

The Garden is very soggy at time of writing and little work has been done but moving Swiftly on….

At the last group meeting it was suggested that we explore the possibility of having Swift boxes put up on the church. The organisations to speak to were found to be The Blackwater Valley Countryside Trust and Tices Meadow Nature Reserve.

I met their representatives at the church for a site meeting. Firstly they gave me the background as to why Swifts need our help.

Swifts are in trouble. Their numbers are declining and have more than halved nationally since 1995. They nest in eaves and because old buildings are being demolished and the methods of new building their nesting sites are disappearing.  We are fortunate in our area as there is a fairly healthy population but they could still do with our help.

The eaves of St. Georges Church are ideal for creating a nesting site and because of the way they “stick out” from the wall we are able to provide an hotel rather than individual boxes which means more room for more lodgers!

The “hotel” will be fitted to the eaves of the west wall, from the southeast corner to the first buttress. It will be constructed with wood and screwed to the eaves with no drilling into the church wall. It will be virtually invisible to the casual observer. There is no cost to us as the people who make and install them are specialist volunteers who provide their expertise and materials.

Now, I expect that some of you might be thinking, “what about the mess?”. I am assured that Swifts do not deposit their guano down the walls of their nest sites but jettison it whilst in flight. Sou`westers anyone!!

The “hotel” will be installed by May this year before the Swifts return from migration. The conservationists will install, temporarily, some sound equipment which will broadcast recordings of the screeching call of Swifts. Hopefully this will encourage them to explore the site and take up residence.

We will be joining The Kilns in Badshot Lea and The Roman Catholic Cathedral in Aldershot who have also agreed to boxes or hotels on their buildings.

I hope they like us!

Bill Thomas

 

 

 

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