An update from Elizabeth Forbes
My warmest thanks to everyone who supported our campaign - volunteering to host a nest box (even if your house turned out not to be suitable), as surveyors or just by being encouraging and feeding in information. Swifts are now officially 'endangered', but we can all take some satisfaction from having 'done our bit' to help our own population to thrive. So, with the arrival of the swifts from April on ward to look forward to, now is the time to report on where we'll be starting from.
Inspired by the talk via Zoom last January by Ed Mayer of Swift Conservation, people responded from across the community: from Teffont Evias to Semley, Hampshire Swifts installed a total of 32 nest boxes, with six also playing recordings of swift calls to attract interest. We are so grateful to Hampshire Swifts for their support from the outset right up to the present day when the last boxes are about to be installed.
The report by Andrew Graham of the survey we then undertook is found here. This suggests there were at least six active nests and that the overall population is around 35-40 birds, of which around 23 may be looking for new homes this breeding season. As we said, we didn't expect new boxes to have residents straight away - the four boxes I put up on my own house in 2019 have still not got established occupants, but there was certainly interest last year so I hope you'll share my patient optimism!
In the future, with the information now available on where in the village there is the most activity, our survey will most usefully focus on feedback from nest box hosts and previously recorded active nests.
Finally, I am absolutely delighted to say that Laura Downer, who so very ably kept the whole complex campaign running smoothly, has now offered also to take over the practical side of things and Andrew will continue his wonderful work on the statistics. In a way it's not for me to thank them for their very hard work, but I do, most warmly. So please keep in touch with Laura, from now on, and of course let her know if you'd like to help.
Again I wish you all the very best 2022 has to offer and thank you again on behalf of Tisbury Swifts.
Photo: Avocets (Izzy Fry)
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