The volunteers of the Tice's Meadow Bird Group have been hard at work over the past few months building a Swift Tower to erect in the Meadow - a key component of our QLA Awards entry.
The Swift Tower has been built to plans provided by Action for Swifts, will house up to 11 pairs of Swifts, and includes a Swift calling device to attract the first tenants.
The nesting box is mounted 6.5m up an 8m wooden electricity pole kindly donated by SSE. Due to it's height, we had to seek planning permission.
Each of the 11 nest boxes includes a pre-built nesting cup, lined with feathers to help the new tenants settle in and improve the chances of breeding. The insides of the nest boxes have been painted black as it is thought Swifts prefer darker nesting sites.
The ingenious swift calling device is solar powered, and plays recordings of Swift calls on a loop, each morning and evening.
The Swift Tower is being built as part of our support for the Blackwater Countryside Trust's Swift Project - a valley wide effort to record, provide homes for, and educate the public about Swifts.
Swifts are one of our most iconic birds. Arriving to breed in the UK in spring, they spend only three months here before migrating back to Sub-Saharan Africa. However, the number of Swifts returning to the UK each year is declining rapidly, with a 50% decline in numbers in the last 20 years.
We hope to have the Swift Tower erected in the next few weeks - an update to follow.