New nest boxes make the Trust's head office a home for swifts

Common Swift © David Tipling/2020VISION

The Trust has installed four swift boxes at its head office Grebe House in St Albans.

Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust has installed four nest boxes at our head office in St Albans to provide nest sites for swifts in spring. The boxes, which are a mix of home-made and ready-built, have kindly been fitted free of charge by Andy Gardner Specialist Tree Care. One box was kindly donated by Trust supporter Rose Goss. Come spring, the Trust will also play swift calls to encourage the birds to take up residence in the nest boxes. 

Our Wildlife Garden in St Albans is a haven for wildlife; we're happy that our office building will also do its part for these iconic birds.
Jenny Sherwen
Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust

The project, led by Senior Reserves Officer Jenny Sherwen, comes at a crucial time for wildlife - 15 per cent of species surveyed in the latest State of Nature Report are under threat from extinction. Swifts have seen a drastic decline in populations – they have decreased by 53% between 1995 and 2016 – mainly due to a loss of suitable nesting places.

In the past, buildings would have open eaves, loose tiles and holes in the walls, all of which provided both nesting and roosting habitats for bats and birds. Modern construction techniques are leaving eaves sealed, tiles fitted without gaps and walls built with no holes so swifts and other birds stuggle to find nesting sites. 

 

New swift boxes at Grebe House

New swift boxes at Grebe House in St Albans © Frieda Rummenhohl

Jenny Sherwen said: "Our Wildlife Garden in St Albans is a haven for wildlife; we're happy that our office building will also do its part for these iconic birds. In a time when habitats are becoming more fragmented and disconnected, it is important to make space for wildlife wherever possible. The Trust doesn't only look after nature reserves, but it also works with landowners across Hertfordshire and Middlesex to realise our vision of a Living Landscape - where wildlife and people can live and thrive together." 

Together with other Wildlife Trusts, Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust is currently lobbying for a strong Environment Act that includes a Nature Recovery Network to put space for nature at the heart of our farming and planning systems.