Tuesday, 4 September 2012

All Saints Worlington

We have not posted anything before about All Saints Worlington, but it is quite a success story. One of the main reasons for success has been the enthusiasm, support and involvement of local people Judith Wakelam and Don MacBean, who ensured that the attraction call playing was well organised and of high quality.

Written by Dick

In 2012 there were 4 pairs on the south side
and 1 pair on the east, north and west sides
In 2009, we first installed 10 nest-boxes in the belfry of All Saints, Worlington, Suffolk. We played attraction calls with a CD player on a timer switch, and swifts were seen entering 1 or 2 of the boxes, but they did not build a nest.
In 2010, after more attraction call playing, 1 pair of swifts built a nest and raised 2 chicks. This was most encouraging.
In 2011, the masonry around the louvres on the south side was replaced (see picture at bottom), resulting in one entrance being blocked, but we added another 8 boxes, resulting in 17 accessible entrances. Also a more robust and dependable call playing system was installed. When we checked the boxes in August, there were now 2 boxes with nests, and again 2 chicks in the previously occupied box.

3-box cabinet with the back off. In 2012 we moved the blocked
top entrance so that it became accessible from the outside. 
Floors 1 and 2 both contain swift nests
In 2012, when we checked the boxes in September, no fewer than 7 boxes contained nests, together with 3 discarded eggs.

We re-engineered the box with the blocked entrance by moving the entrance, resulting in a total of 18 boxes available for 2013. This involved moving the 3rd floor down by about 9cm, but there is still plenty of headroom in the 2nd floor. In the picture left, you can see the original 3rd floor entrance, and the new position below it.

In addition to the 7 pairs of swifts in nest boxes, there is also 1 pair of swifts in a hole in the stonework part way up the tower.

The detailed history of occupancy at Worlington is in this spreadsheet. It is significant that the birds go for boxes near the top and bottom louvres. The bottom louvres on the east and south side, both occupied in 2012, have a tunnel entrance as feral pigeons often nest on the sill.
All Saints Worlington in winter, before the masonry repair on the south side window.
Photo © Judith Wakelam
The south window before and after renovation
The small tunnel at the bottom is to get past the nesting feral pigeons
Photo © Judith Wakelam

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