Published by Sam Swyer on Thu, 17 Jan 2019 13:55

Last Saturday Kevin and Emma Mc Nally our Tower Captain met with members of Hampshire Swifts to discuss the exciting prospect of installing swift boxes within the Tower of Ringwood Parish Church.

The Common Swift is a rapidly declining bird in the UK (>50% decline in the last 20 years) and this is considered to be largely due to lack of nesting sites because of modern building practices.

A small number of Swifts still nest in the centre of Ringwood, so it is proposed that six new purpose-made swift boxes are provided in the spire of St Peter & St Paul’s Church behind the louvers on the east side.

Swift box positioning, Ringwood Parish Church

The hole of the box will be designed to permit entry of swifts but nothing larger eg: starlings and jackdaws. 

Installing Swift nest boxes behind louvres has been done at many other churches around the country with great success. Colonisation of the boxes can be greatly sped up by the playing of swift calls during the breeding season and so a small call player and 1” speaker will be installed on a timer to attract the birds.

An opening hatch will be put in the back of each box so that it can be inspected at the end of each season. Swifts are site-faithful so once a nest is established it is most likely that the birds will return to it in the following year. When we have evidence that a box is being used a small boxcam will be installed at the end of the season. This can then be live-streamed either on the internet or on a screen in the church - that's something to look forward to! 

We are hoping that these will be in place as soon as possible, this must be done before the end of April which is when the swifts return from Africa.


More information about Swifts can be found here
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