Swift action taken in conservation project

Ten specialist bird boxes have been installed as part of a conservation project to create habitat for swifts by our Environment team working with our Development Team in the Division of Estates and Facilities Management.

The bird boxes have been installed on the Astley Clarke Building to combat the loss of suitable nesting sites for this amber-listed species. The fitting of new insulated windows in the building provided the ideal opportunity for the Swift Box Project.

Swifts typically nest in cracks and the eaves of buildings but more modern designs eliminate these gaps – great for energy efficiency but not so great for these birds. Spending most of their time in the air, Swifts are a common migrant visitor to Leicester and arrive around February/March time to look for a suitable place to lay their eggs.

The box material is made from woodcrete which is highly insulating and wooden cups have been handmade for birds to sit on inside the box, to increase chances of nesting. If it all goes well, there may even be the opportunity to view nesting adults and chicks live online via webcam.

Despite the abundance of human houses, their population has declined dramatically in the past 10 years, resulting in the RSPB to label them as an amber-listed species for conservation concern.