News

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

RSPB Chester Group secures grant for swift conservation
Ben Andrew (rspb-images.com)

RSPB Chester Group secures grant for swift conservation

RSPB Chester Group is pleased to announce that we have just secured funding from The Naturesave Trust to support swift conservation in target areas within the city of Chester. This will help us to increase the availability of suitable nest sites around Chester by offering subsidized box installations in areas near existing swift colonies. The Naturesave Trust, a registered charity, was founded in 1995 by Naturesave Insurance of Totnes in Devon to fund environmental and conservation projects in the UK.

RSPB Chester Group started the Chester Swift Conservation Project three years ago to raise awareness of the alarming fall in breeding swift numbers in the UK. Working with partners including Chester Zoo Wildlife Connections, Cheshire Wildlife Trust, rECOrd, and CWAC, the Project's survey work in Chester in 2016 and 2017 confirmed a fall in breeding swift numbers of 46% since 1995, mirroring the statistics nationally. The reasons for the fall are complex but part of the problem is the renovation of old buildings and construction of new developments, which do not provide suitable sites for nests.

Project members have already talked to schools and community groups about the possibility of installing artificial nest sites (boxes and bricks) on suitable buildings. Last year, the Queens School put four swift boxes up near existing natural nest sites on it buildings near the city walls and installed a mini-amplifier to play attraction calls. Discussions with the University of Chester and a local social housing company aimed at installing swift boxes and bricks into new-build developments are at an advanced stage. The Project recently organised two swift walks in June 2018 in Hoole and Great Sutton, as part of the first-ever UK Swift Awareness Week.

If you or someone you know would be interested in having a swift box installed on your home, we would be very happy to provide more details. Please get in touch with us at RSPBChester@googlegroups.com