Swift boxes for Bath

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 2023 season Bath Swift Boxes had supplied and installed 108 new boxes in Bath and the surrounding area including colony boxes in three of Baths church towers.

Take-up of the boxes though unpredictable has been encouraging and will surely increase with time. The primary objective is to provide Swifts with opportunities for nesting and occupation will surely increase with time.

In the six years since 2017 Bath Swift Survey  identified 176 locations in Bath that have at one stage or another been occupied by Swifts.RSPB Bath Swift Group now know those areas of the city favoured by Swifts and are able to understand better what is needed to sustain there numbers.

Photo copyright: RSPB

Photo copyright: Andrew Denyer