Tuesday 3 April 2012

Swifts nesting in an open church loft

This is another situation where Swifts have access to each other's nests. 
Contributed by Lyndon Kearsley

"Onze-Lieve-Vrouw" (Our Dear Lady)
Last year, on 5th July, I was invited by Jaak Brosens to visit a church in Kalmthout to the north of Antwerp. The brick and stone church has a number of nest bricks inserted into the main roof. In the church tower the wooden steeple construction forms an open loft above the level of the belfry (just above the clocks).

The last row of stone has a lot of mortar missing between the blocks where the wooden steeple takes over and swifts are able to get into the open loft through these cracks. They nest next to an entrance hole and the loft is 15 x 15 meters. There are more than 20 nests and some quite close to each other.

We found that well grown young were visiting neighboring nests and very inquisitive. We also controlled a couple of ringed adults; one ringed as a chick in the same tower 10 years before to the day 5th July 2001, another was ringed as an adult bird (age unknown) on 2nd July 2004.

I hope to visit again this season.

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