National Species Action Plan
as well as the Urban Habitat Action Plan
will be used to implement and monitor action for the skylark in
Sussex Species Statement for the Swift has not yet been written.
following information was compiled by West Sussex County Council.
are a familiar part of an English summer, their characteristic screaming
calls being heard in our towns and villages from May onwards. However,
there is growing concern that Swift populations are in rapid decline
due to modern building methods and better maintenance excluding
them from their usual nesting places in roofs. As a result, a partnership,
known as "Concern for Swifts", has been formed to raise
awareness and promote conservation measures for the Swift nationally.
Although often confused with Swallows and House Martins, Swifts
are readily identified being almost completely black with large,
sickle-shaped wings. These are truly remarkable birds which spend
the majority of their 15 or more year life airborne, feeding and
even sleeping on the wing. On warm summer evenings they form screaming
parties which wheel around church towers and rooftops.
West Sussex County Council is actively involved in Swift conservation
and is believed to be the first local authority in the UK to have
installed special German-made concrete Swift nesting bricks. To
date, Swift nesting bricks have been installed in a range of building
developments in West Sussex, including Horsham Library, East Pallant
House in Chichester (the offices of Chichester District Council),
a new police custody centre in Chichester and an office block in
East Pallant House offices of Chichester District Council Planning
Department, Swift nest boxes were incorporated in the roadside frontage
of the new building in September 2001.
Opportunities to incorporate nature conservation enhancements in
urban developments are rare. Providing nest sites for Swifts in
building works meets an important objective of the developing local
Species Action Plan for the Swift, and also features in the Sussex
Urban Habitat Action Plan.
Swift nesting bricks are widely used on the Continent, especially
in Amsterdam and Germany.
They are made of concrete and designed to be built into walls of
buildings. The outer face of the brick can be rendered, painted
or faced with brick or tiles so as to blend in with the building.
Unless shaded by the eaves, south facing aspects should generally
be avoided. Swift bricks can be positioned anywhere on a building
above about 4m provided the flight path to the nest is not obscured
by trees or other buildings. Swifts nest in colonies and thus a
number (say 6-12 bricks should be considered per building). There
are cost implications. However, there are environmental and educational
benefits which might appeal to schools, libraries and other organisations/developers.
Swift bricks are manufactured by Schwegler in Germany and available
in the UK, costing about £22 each. Dimensions of Swift bricks:
260mm x 220mm x 180mm high. Weight: 8.8kg.
Supplier of Swift bricks: Jacobi Jayne & Company, Wealden Forest
Park, Herne Common, Canterbury, Kent CT6 7LQ Tel. 01227 714314 Fax:
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.jacobijayne.com
Nestboxes could play an important role in conserving our Swifts
by offsetting the loss of nest sites due to modern building methods
and better maintenance. In addition to Swift bricks, various other
nestbox designs are available, suitable for fixing to external walls
or installing within a loft space. We hope that the provision of
nest boxes/bricks will secure the long-term future of Swift colonies
in towns and villages across West Sussex.
to other swift web sites:
Common Swift web page:
Virtual Magazine of the Common Swift:
Martins & Swifts worldwide: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Swallows-Martins-Swifts-Worldwide/
This site is dedicated to discussing and disseminating inforamtion
on these species.