Tuesday 24 April 2012

Ludlow Swift Conservation Group

This is a fine example what a local group can achieve when they put their minds to it. 
Contributed by Peta Sams

The Ludlow Swift Conservation Group was launched in January 2011 at the AGM of Ludlow 21 with the support of Shropshire Wildlife Trust and Shropshire Ornithological Society. Swifts are an important part of the Ludlow skyline in summer and many residents and visitors look out for them and enjoy their company each year.
Midway Motors bell tower, Ludlow
However there has been no systematic surveying of these birds to understand where they nest or any assessment of their numbers to see whether they are thriving or struggling to maintain numbers. The aims of the group in its first year were to:
- Get an idea how many birds there are in and around Ludlow
- Find where they nest and how successful they are at raising young
- Plan what can be done to preserve and create new nest sites

From these early beginnings the group has moved on and, after a successful 2011 surveying the nesting swifts in Ludlow, is now preparing for the arrival of the swifts back from migration in late April and early May by putting up nest boxes. Swifts like to nest in the eaves of buildings and particularly favour older structures. This makes them vulnerable to re-development as well as new builds, which are often unsuitable. This is not a problem unique to Ludlow and across the UK and Europe people are working to remedy the situation by erecting nest boxes. On Tuesday March 13th, members of the group met at Midway Motors in Ludlow to erect 4 boxes on the old bell tower of the building with the kind permission of the owners, Dave Price and Michael Jacks. St. Stephen's Hall which houses Midway Motors is an old chapel, later modified as a community hall and finally a commercial Motor Factors outlet.
Lort Access Hire cherry picker
This is a very tricky site but eminently suitable for swifts. It was only possible to erect these boxes because of the loan of a 'cherry picker' and operator by Vince Lort of Lort Access Hire who generously gave his time and machinery without charge. The boxes were fixed in place by Gareth Thomas whilst Vince operated the machine. The group will monitor these and other boxes placed around the town, including Quality Square, Julian Road and Linney to see if the offer of new nesting sites has been taken up. We are very keen for residents of the town to become involved in our important work and would encourage them to report nesting swifts in their neighbourhood. We can be contacted by: Phoning us on 01584 875031 or 876818 or email swifts@ludlow21.org.uk

1 comment:

  1. They're back! I saw 8 swifts in Ludlow on Wednesday 4th May.