In April nest boxes were installed in the tower of St Swithun’s Parish church Merton, on the edge of Otmoor near Oxford. The work was done by members of the Cherwell Swifts Conservation Project which is publicising the decline in our Swift population, and the reasons for it, in the towns and villages of North Oxfordshire.
The Cherwell project has recently forged a link with the local Diocese. There are still churches around the district which have nesting Swifts, but as elsewhere these are at risk when repair work has to be done on the church building. The Diocese has now agreed to consider how a system can be established to ensure that traditional Swifts’ nest sites are taken into account when repairs are being planned. This is not just to fulfil the legal obligation not to disturb nesting birds, but also to make sure that advice is obtained about undertaking ‘out of season’ repairs in a Swift-friendly way.