Helping swifts enter a new era with free nesting boxes

Swift boxes and installation are free, and are available to anyone who has a suitable property

Swift boxes on a house

As one Swift flies into the UK for her global tour, people across Leicestershire are being encouraged to apply for nesting boxes to be installed on their homes to help and protect the bird of the same name.

Swift boxes and installation are free, and are available to anyone who has a suitable property, following an assessment.

Last year, Leicestershire County Council was awarded a £77,000 grant from Natural England to help boost swift populations across the county and help them to recover.

The Swift Action for Swifts project aims to reverse the decline in the numbers of the migratory birds by helping householders across the county to create nesting sites.

It provides specially-built swift boxes and ‘callers’ to encourage the birds to locate the boxes and make their homes in them. So far, boxes are being installed at more than 130 sites, with many more on the way.

Numbers of swifts – which can be heard screaming across fields and gardens during the summer months - are in severe decline across the UK, down by 53% percent between 1995 and 2016, due to loss of breeding sites and the reduced numbers of flying insects caused by the use of pesticides, and climate change.

I would encourage householders to contact us about getting a swift box installed on their homes. We will carry out an assessment and install the box if the property is suitable.

It’s a very simple and effective way to protect these wonderful birds and to allow the population to grow and thrive.

Ann Carruthers, Leicestershire County Council director of environment and transport

Anyone who would like to apply for a swift nesting box should email EnvironmentTeam@leics.gov.uk

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