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Saving Hampshire’s Swifts – Village by Village

The village of Abbotts Ann lies just to the west of where I live in north-west Hampshire. I’ve known there is a small colony of Swifts there for some time but they all nest in natural sites and have not yet started to use the three boxes that have been put up around the village despite there being a call player on one of them.

Abbotts Ann

When doing some surveying for Swifts there last year I went and asked in the Community Shop if it would be possible to erect some Swift boxes on the sides of the building as there are often birds flying overhead. Luckily my local councillor Cllr Maureen Flood was there that day and said that she would approach the management committee for approval. The answer came back - yes. So after measuring up for the bespoke boxes, Roger and I went back in May this year to fit them. Actually it was all Roger as I just stand on the bottom of the ladder and chat to the folk asking what we are doing.

Roger in his lockdown-induced hairy phase with the Swift boxes installed
Roger in his lockdown-induced hairy phase with the Swift boxes installed

Cllr Maureen Flood – Abbotts Ann Community shop
Cllr Maureen Flood – Abbotts Ann Community shop

So Roger has put up eight pairs of boxes, so sixteen in all, painted to match the fascia and rafter ends. (Did you know that if you know the make and colour of the paint B&Q will match it and let you have a small pot for £5). We are hoping that Swifts will find the boxes quite quickly as there is a natural nest in the corner of a house only 50m away and another somewhere very close to the rear of the shop that I haven’t located yet. I know it’s there because a bird dropped out of a nest out of view and shot past my ear as Roger was up the ladder.

There are also several pairs in a house near the top of the village and it was from here that we were contacted on 28 July as the owners had just picked up a fallen youngster on their front drive. They were unaware that Swifts nested on that side of the house though they knew they were on the rear. The bird’s wings were still quite short, about 100mm rather than the 160mm that they need to be before they fledge, so it still had quite a lot of growing to do. I took it to Hart Wildlife for rehabbing with the specialist care that they require. It was put with several other youngsters that they had at the time and was later successfully released.

Fallen young Swift Abbotts Ann 28 July 2022
Fallen young Swift Abbotts Ann 28 July 2022

So well done to Hart Wildlife, to Roger and of course to Cllr Maureen Flood for their help to our cause. And Roger now sports a new haircut.

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