Tuesday 23 June 2015

Maiden Tower, Baku, Azerbaijan update

We previously reported on the Swifts in the Maiden Tower here
It was one of the most stimulating talks at the Cambridge International Swift Conference

Maiden Tower on the left, nest boxes o the right

Despite extensive restoration of the Maiden Tower, the project team were able to keep up to 150 nest cavities in the Tower itself. In addition, many more nest cavities were created on a neighbouring modern building. By regular watching during the breeding season and inspection of sites afterwards, it was estimated that at least 40 pairs bred. Playing of calls seems to be very successful and the team are expecting the number of breeding pairs to grow in coming seasons. A valuable spin-off from the project is the publicity given to Swift conservation: last year over 250 official delegations visited the Tower and the adjacent building.
For this update, we wish to thank Samir Nuriyev, Director of the Administration of State Historical-Architectural Reserve “Ichersheher” under the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Special thanks are also due to Mrs Leyla Aliyeva, Vice-president of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and founder of IDEA (International Action for Environmental Action) for initiating and coordinating the project to provide alternative accommodation for Swifts in the adjacent modern building.

 One of the challenges to architects and designers is how to add Swift accommodation to a new building in a way that does not spoil the appearance of the buildilng. Essentially you either try to hide the boxes, or you make a feature of them. The Baku architects took the second route and boldly arranged the boxes on the buildling surface to look like giant Swifts.

Here is an inspiring video showing Swifts using the new nest boxes:

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