As you all know, I’m a very keen birder and member of the Glamorgan Bird Club. A couple of months after I moved here to Penarth, I was delighted to hear Swifts screaming almost daily in the sky above my flat, and to see them practising their aerial acrobatics when I was out walking in the local area. I was aware that Swifts are an endangered species – in the last 30 years, numbers in Glamorgan have declined by 50% – and wondered what I might do to help. Here’s what happened:
11 June 2017 While on a club outing, I got chatting to Alan Rosney, the bird club’s committee member who co-ordinates the Glamorgan Swift Project. I mentioned that I heard the birds screaming overhead a lot and that there was a church across the road from me (the Trinity Methodist Church), with a tower that might be a possibility for some nest boxes. The next day I emailed Alan the church’s details so he could check it out and follow up if he thought it a possibility.
19 July 2017 Alan paid a visit to the folks at Trinity Church, to discuss the plan.
7 August 2017 A positive response from the church – the boxes could go ahead, ready for the following year’s return of the Swifts.
29 September 2017 Alan and other project members visited the church to check where the nest boxes might be located and for Howard, the box builder and installer, to measure up.
23 February 2018 Installation day, and Alan invited me along to see the result of my original suggestion. I had a lovely chat with Julia and Ian, other keen birders involved in the project, and with Chris, the church’s representative, and got to see inside the church tower but there was no way I was venturing up that ladder.
So the boxes are in, but there was an issue with the speaker system so that will be installed in late April / early May, ready to call the Swifts to come a’nesting. The speakers are set on a timer system to play the sound of screaming Swifts, in the mornings and evenings, to try to entice the birds to use the boxes. Of course, the birds might not oblige – we can but keep our fingers crossed that they’ll take a fancy to their new accommodation. The day they traditionally return to Britain is May the 4th so, little Swifts, I’ll be looking out for you from my living room window, and may the fourth be with you!