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Crewe swift 'supercolony' granted RSPB protection
AVENUES of houses in Crewe containing a ‘supercolony’ of swifts have been listed as a Grade A Site of Biological Importance by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.
Hundreds of pairs of birds have descended on homes in the town’s west end, to nest in roofs and lofts in what is thought to be one of the largest colonies of swifts in Great Britain.
Swifts traditionally nest in crags, sea cliffs and hollow trees. They have adapted to increasing urbanization by nesting in buildings, allowing them to colonize cities all over the world due to their enormous migratory range.
However, increasing modernization of houses often deprives them of the nooks and crannies they need to set up home.
That has led housing provider Wulvern to install special nesting boxes while carrying out insulation work on homes throught Crewe’s supercolony site.
450 pairs of birds have nested in Kettell Avenue, McNeill Avenue, Darlington Avenue, Bowen Cooke Avenue, Frank Webb Avenue and Barnabas Avenue.
Lee Smith, neighbourhood investment manager, said: “Swifts pair for life, meeting up each spring at the same nest site, so as a nature conservation site it is very important that Wulvern considers the swifts when planning repairs or improvements to this area to ensure that their habitat is retained, new nest sites are provided, and that nesting birds are not disturbed.”
Twenty two boxes have been fitted in partnership with not for profit environmental group Greenspaces South Cheshire of Nantwich, and contractor Burrows Home Comfort.
A Camera has been placed in one of the nesting boxes to monitor the swifts return from migration sites south of the Sahara.
Lee added: “We have installed a camera in one of the boxes and are eagerly awaiting the return of the swifts from Africa to see if they like their new homes.”
There are 25 million swifts worldwide.
UK swifts arrive in the UK at the beginning of June. Their migration is believed to be caused by the comparative lack of small insects in the air at the beginning of August.