Wednesday 21 March 2012

Swift boxes at Belfast Zoo

Here is a novel idea to attract Swifts - make them feel as if they are in Africa!

Contributed by Gayle Turley

Over the past ten years, Belfast Zoo has played an active role in native species conservation in Northern Ireland. Although swifts are regularly seen within the grounds of the zoo, there have never been any known nesting sites.
Schwegler 16s nest-boxes in the Giraffe enclosure

We are keen to change this and, after taking advice from a local enthusiast, we decided to go forward with a plan to attract the swifts to nest in the zoo for the first time. We ordered Schwegler No.16s boxes, 5 in total, and set about finding a suitable position to place them. We found that the side of our giraffe house was an ideal height and a perfect location to place the boxes. As the boxes are in the giraffe enclosure, extra care was taken to ensure they were high enough to be out of the giraffe’s reach! We plan to start playing a swift attraction CD from the end of April to increase our chances of attracting swifts to nest in the zoo.

We will also be placing educational signs in that area of the zoo, explaining to visitors what the nest boxes are for, why they are needed and hopefully raising awareness for the plight of the swift and encouraging others to put up nesting boxes.

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