The common swift, a designated iconic species in Bath, has declined by 53% between 1995 and 2016 and is now amber listed. It is believed loss of nest sites is at least partly responsible. These migrant birds return from their wintering grounds in Africa to the same spot each year to breed – usually in buildings, in gaps in roof tiles and eaves.
Due to our tendency to seal up buildings during renovation or knock them down, swifts are returning to discover their nest site has gone or access is blocked.
To attempt to counteract this trend, Bath Swift Group, part of Bath and District RSPB Local Group, decided to encourage interested local residents and churches to install swift nest boxes.
Restore our Planet has supported the purchase and erection of these in appropriate locations.
By the end of the 2019 season Bath Swift Boxes had supplied and installed 68 new boxes in Bath and the surrounding area.
The 2019 Bath Swift Survey also identified 83 locations in Bath where swifts were found with a total of 125 `nest sites`, some locations with multiple nests. This is an increase on the 2018 totals, however this may be as a result of improved survey techniques, but gives a good understanding of the swifts` whereabouts which is an important factor.
Photo copyright: RSPB
Photo copyright: Andrew Denyer