Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Swift update

We are due to have roof repairs and I wrote to the council about the protocols for swifts and roof repairs. As many readers of this blog know, swifts are my favourite birds. They nest in roofs in this area, though there is no evidence of them living in our roof so far. Edited highlights of the council's reply follow:

'The decline in Swift populations is alarming and they have recently been added to the Amber list of "Birds of Conservation Concern" (see: http://www.rspb.org.uk/news/details.asp?id=tcm:9-219495 )
The main issue for Swifts seems to be the loss of urban breeding sites, particularly where tenement blocks are being refurbished, and my understanding is that refurbishment works must ensure that a building's roof is watertight and airtight before a Building Warrant can be issued. This results in a very strong incentive for builders to block up any existing crevices and gaps, resulting in nest sites being lost.

All roofing and building contractors should be aware that it is an offence under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 to intentionally or recklessly take, damage or destroy the eggs, young or nest of a swift whilst it is being built or in use. So if there are birds nesting in your building then the builders are required to wait until the breeding season has passed.

One of the ways we are trying to help Swifts in Edinburgh is to encourage developers of appropriate new builds to incorporate artificial nest sites (Swift bricks) into their designs.

The Scottish Ornithologist's Club carry out a survey for Swifts in Edinburgh every few years (the last report is available at: www.the-soc.org.uk/docs/edinburgh-swift-survey.pdf ).'

You can read more about Swifts at: www.swift-conservation.org/

We are very pleased to have a roofing contractor who is happy to fit swift nest boxes when he works on the roof.


The Weaver of Grass said...

we have swifts nesting in our eaves Juliet - it is wonderful to watch them from the bedroom window, when one is looking down on them. They are one of my favourite birds - I didn't realise you could get swift nestboxes.

d. moll, l.ac. said...

Sounds like they are being quite cooperative: nesting boxes would be great, you'd get swifts where there were none!

poefusion said...

Wonderful that you're getting your roof fixed and getting some nest boxes. I think your favorite birds will stay around for a long while this way. Have a great day.

RG said...

Great idea! Spread the word..

Thomma Lyn said...

I am glad that the Swifts are receiving help. I hope you soon have swifts nesting in your roof! :)

Forthvalley scribe said...

How lovely to have a sympathetic contractor.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Dear Juliet, I think it was a swift the bird which slided down the chimney and found itself in my small apartment in a XVIIth century building I lived in in Venice, fifteen minutes from StMark's Square, in the 80's.
I looked at the photos in your link and I think we call it in Italian "Rondone", a bigger swallow, is that right?
I was living in that tiny place with my wife and our beloved sled-dog, a Samoyed, who was scared by the bird. I was shaving when it happened, it was very early in the morning. I at once opened the window and it could fly out. The noise he made sliding down inside the chimney was pretty scary though, it lasted ten minutes... a long sliding bringing down grit and sooth...a bit of a Gothic scene...

Thank you for the comment on my poem.
All my best, Davide

Julie said...

I didn't know about swift boxes, either. That's great news! You're right. They are such beautiful birds. I feel so free when I watch them fly.

roofers in leeds said...

great idea!.. get the word spread now!
like the duck too! :D