Swifts are struggling for nesting sites due to the loss of their traditional homes, mainly under roof tiles or in roof spaces when older properties are ‘modernised’. So in 2016 Harleston’s Future made the decision to lend a hand and install replacement homes for them in the form of nesting boxes. Host families were contacted and by last year we had 147 boxes in place, made and erected by a dedicated team of town volunteers. If you look closely you will see them on homes throughout the town, tucked up under the roof overhang, generally on the north face of taller houses.
Swifts live up to 20 years and do everything on the wing, apart from raising their young on a nest. They pair for life and normally bring up 2 or 3 chicks, who will fly within 6 to 8 weeks of hatching. Swifts love to swoop around taller buildings screeching as they go and this is what you will probably hear on summer evenings.
These lovely freewheeling birds are back in town. The first birds back and taking up residence in the same box as last year was on the 12th May. Last year’s pair are nesting together again and the first egg has just arrived on 27th May.
For more information on swifts, please visit www.swift-conservation.org
This site will be regularly updated to keep you posted with progress in the box.
Peter Metcalf, 27th May 2019.