Woodbridge Swifts

In Touch Community News

By Jenny James

After two years of planning and preparation, Woodbridge Swifts has installed a row of 15 well concealed nest boxes under the eaves of St Mary’s House in the Market Square. The aim of the project has been to return nesting swifts (a red listed species) to the Market Square after an absence of many years. Woodbridge has had a thriving swift population which has declined. Our work over the past six years has aimed to halt that decline. We have provided more nest sites by installing over 150 nest boxes, a number of which are already occupied. The Market Square, with its medieval and C18th buildings will have been home to many swifts in the past. One of the buildings in a good position for swift nest boxes is St Mary’s House, the shop and offices of St Mary’s Parish Church. The Rector and the PCC are fully supportive of this project. The boxes have been installed on the north side facing the square. We are delighted to have completed this project with a grant from the Coast and Heaths Community and Conservation Fund. 

The success of the project will be slow to emerge. The only measurements we can take will be the number of years it takes for the boxes to be occupied and the number boxes occupied. But the presence of the boxes should cause an immediate increase in public awareness resulting in more enquiries about swifts and nest boxes and an increased response to our activities.

We have printed a leaflet about swifts in Woodbridge. This will be available in Woodbridge Library and Tourist Information Point as well as St Mary’s House and shops around the town. This will give information about the project and swifts in general to the people of Woodbridge. Those residents and visitors who pass through the Market Square during the summer, or sit outside the cafes and pubs on summer evenings, will we hope in years to come be able to enjoy the sight and sounds of swifts as they swoop and circle around the roofs. 

In the wider sense – this is a small piece in a large jigsaw of environmental action. The climate emergency, environmental degradation and loss of species can be mitigated to some extent by small projects such as this. Projects which catch the public eye are important for raising general awareness of these issues.

General enquiries: woodbridge.swifts@gmail.com 

Nest box enquiries: woodswiftbox@hotmail.com 

To report a nest site: woodswiftsites@gmail.com

SOS Swifts – swifts in Suffolk: swifts@suffolkbirdgroup.org  

Website: group.rspb.org.uk/woodbridge/get-involved/

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