Harleston launches flag campaign in aid of swift population

Harleston Flag Force members put up 'Welcome Back' flags for migrating swifts
Harleston Flag Force members put up 'Welcome Back' flags for migrating swifts

Harleston hopes to highlight the threats facing the town’s renowned migrating birds with an awareness campaign that will fill the streets with flags this summer.

Community organisation Harleston’s Future is putting together a ‘Welcome Back’ flag programme to mark the return of the migrating swift population, described as “supreme symbols” of the town’s summer sky, while also drawing attention to the problems behind their dwindling numbers.

Local resident Malcolm Wiles, who looks after the town clock tower, said: “It would be a tragedy, if the day should come when there are no suitable places for the swifts to nest, leaving the summer skies empty of their swerving high-speed noisy flight.

“I love to see them sweeping round the tower in the centre of town – they are the very spirit of summer and we are privileged to have them.”

Ian Carstairs, wildlife conservationist and member of Harleston’s Future, explained roof upgrades to town buildings had resulted in a significant drop in nesting sites.

He also stated both Harleston Town Council and South Norfolk Council were encouraging developers to include swift nest holes on newly-constructed properties.

“New nest holes in all new buildings would be a great step forward, not only for swifts but other hole-nesting birds”, Mr Carstairs said.

Householders in the area are also being urged to help, either by placing swift nest boxes under the eaves of their homes, or installing specially-made swift bricks into the upper parts of the walls.

To find out more about the Flag Force initiative, contact Ian Carstairs by calling on 01379 853413 or 0759 792 0800.

For further information on the work of the Harleston’s Future civic group, please pay a visit to www.facebook.com/HarlestonsFuture