A new home for swifts in Bridgend

Bridgend LNP

A partnership featuring Bridgend Local Nature Partnership, Valleys to Coast and Glamorgan Bird Club has installed a number of nest boxes on Bridgend’s Marlas Estate to provide new nesting opportunities to swifts returning from Africa.

There was a warm welcome in North Cornelly last month for some very special summer visitors…swifts! And it’s hoped that they will establish a permanent summer home in their new nesting boxes, encouraging increasing numbers.

Swifts return to the same breeding each year from Africa and remain loyal to their partners. But they are in drastic decline, due to the loss of traditional nesting sites.

‘Marvellous summer migrants…’
Monitoring has shown swifts in the locality during their 14,000-mile round trips, so six suitably positioned nest boxes have been installed on Marlas Estate.

The initiative is the result of a new partnership between Valleys to Coast (V2C), Glamorgan Bird Club (GBC) and the Bridgend Local Nature Partnership (Bridgend LNP).

‘Swifts are a declining species,’ says GBC Trustee, Strinda Davies ‘and as a charity committed to the conservation and enjoyment of birds in our area of South Wales, we are delighted to be working with V2C for the benefit of these marvellous summer migrants.’

The project has been the result of diligent monitoring, by local GBC members, of the breeding Swift population in the communities of Kenfig Hill, Pyle and North Cornelly over the past few years as part of the RSPB UK wide Swift-mapping project.

‘Valleys to Coast is pleased to support this initiative as part of our commitment to supporting bio-diversity and enabling our residents to experience a variety of wildlife on their doorstep.’ explained Andy Jones, Community Housing team Leader with Valleys to Coast.

‘We look forward to working with GBC and Bridgend LNP on similar conservation projects.’

cherry picker

Cherry picker

swift nest

cherry picker

Swift nest

In it for the long haul
Swifts arrive in late April, early May and depart in August for their wintering grounds in the African Congo, completing a 14,000-mile round trip.

They are a relatively long-lived bird for their size with an average lifespan of around 5 years and not reaching breeding age until 3-4 years old.

Swifts spend most of their life on the wing, landing only once it has entered a nest site.

They return to the same breeding site each year and remain loyal to their partners.

‘Swift numbers are in drastic decline…’
‘Swift numbers are in drastic decline due to loss of their habitual nest sites.’ says Jess Hartley, co-ordinator of Bridgend LNP.

‘We are very pleased to be able to financially support this initiative to ensure that the nest boxes were installed safely by GBC volunteers, using their expertise and specialist knowledge’.

Projects such as these are vital in offering new nest sites for this iconic bird, whose ‘screaming’ parties as they speed over the rooftops, are such a special sound of summer we are privileged to still be able to enjoy in Wales.

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