Swift response from Market Rasen business

A project to help endangered birds has been launched in Market Rasen and organisers are calling on local businesses and residents to get involved.
From left, Yvonne Horrocks, Steven Flockton and Norrie Graham MRCVS. Image: Dianne TuckettFrom left, Yvonne Horrocks, Steven Flockton and Norrie Graham MRCVS. Image: Dianne Tuckett
From left, Yvonne Horrocks, Steven Flockton and Norrie Graham MRCVS. Image: Dianne Tuckett

Swifts are disappearing from our skies and Rasen Area Environment Group is hoping to halt their decline in the local area.

The birds currently hold ‘Red’ status in the UK conservation list, which means they are globally threatened and urgent action is needed.

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Rasen Area Environment Group member Yvonne Horrocks said: “Swifts traditionally nest in houses and old building such as churches, squeezing through tiny gaps to nest in the roofs. As old buildings are being renovated or demolished, traditional swift nesting sites are fast disappearing.

"People who have lived in Market Rasen for a long time tell me that there were always swifts swooping around over the town, but in recent years there has been a definite decline.

"Our project is to promote and provide nesting boxes for swifts because these very endangered birds are disappearing from our skies and urgently need nesting sites."

The group began by appealing for volunteers to make the boxes through a promotion at a U3A meeting and found two talented and skilful men, Steven Flockton and Geoff Turrell.

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The money to buy the marine ply to start the project was donated by the Rotary club and they now have a stack of boxes ready to be sold.

Useful information. Image: Yvonne HorrocksUseful information. Image: Yvonne Horrocks
Useful information. Image: Yvonne Horrocks

Yvonne said: “We decided the perfect way to kick-start the project was to donate some boxes to a building in the centre of town.

"Rase Veterinary Nursing College, in the old bank building, kindly agreed to this and they are putting up three of our boxes.

“Wouldn’t it be amazing to see these glorious birds raising their young around the market place again?”

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When Head of centre, Norrie Graham MRCVS heard about the project, she had no hesitation in accepting the boxes.

She said: “We are happy to support anything to do with conservation. Anything we can do to encourage wildlife we are always keen to get involved with.

"It would be a fabulous spectacle to see them [swifts] and we hope the project will be well supported.”

The nesting box project aims to be self funding and boxes will be provided at an affordable price.

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The ideal site for swift nest boxes is under the eaves or on walls facing north, northeast or north-west, out of direct sunlight, at least five metres above the ground, with clear adjacent airspace, so swifts can access it in a high-speed direct flight.

The boxes will be available at various local events and markets throughout the year at £10. Alternatively, email Yvonne at [email protected] .

Yvonne added: “Over the last decade or so, swift towers have been being built to provide a community of nesting sites, but studies are showing these are not particularly successful and that individual boxes are more likely to be used, especially if a few of these can be grouped together.”

The boxes are 45cms (17.7ins) long, which is bigger than you may think, but the wingspan of a swift is 38-40coms (15-16ins). Fledgling swifts need to have room to beat their wings to build up their muscles before launching themselves from the security of the nest. The boxes are made to the RSPB’s design and specifications. If you would like to have a go at making your own, visit: www.rspb.org.uk/helping-nature/what-you-can-do/activities/create-a-high-home-for-swifts

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