Harleston community group takes action to support declining swift population

Peter Metcalf, of Harlestons Future, tree surgeon Daniel Meadows and builder Paul Nelson help install the new swift nesting boxes around Harleston.
Peter Metcalf, of Harlestons Future, tree surgeon Daniel Meadows and builder Paul Nelson help install the new swift nesting boxes around Harleston.
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The community of Harleston has taken action to support the swifts returning to the town this month, in the hope of stopping the decline in their population.

The Harleston’s Future Swift Action Group has installed 120 new swifts’ nest boxes on buildings around the town, ahead of the return of the birds following their migratory journey to Africa over the winter and early spring.

A special welcome flag was raised at the edge of the market place in the town centre, after the first swifts were spotted in early May.

Norman Hart, chairman of Harleston’s Future, said: “It’s simply staggering that they have been flying ever since they left last year and will only land again as they return to their nest sites.

“They are very loyal to their exact nesting location. That’s why we need to protect existing sites and create more, to help to improve their fortunes and to keep the summer skies above Harleston alive.”

The purpose of the nesting program is to help ensure young or displaced swifts have a home to return to.

The Swift Action Group says the numbers have been declining sharply in recent years, partly as a result of the loss of their traditional nesting sites when roofs have been renovated and when old buildings have been either demolished or converted.