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Suffolk events planned for Swift Awareness Week

PUBLISHED: 13:17 14 June 2018

A common swift in flight

A common swift in flight

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Events are being held in Suffolk to mark Swift Awareness Week, which starts this Saturday.

Save Our Suffolk Swifts Campaign volunteer Edward Jackson with  swift boxes newly installed at Southwold Water TowerSave Our Suffolk Swifts Campaign volunteer Edward Jackson with swift boxes newly installed at Southwold Water Tower

They include two illustrated talks by Edward Jackson from Save Our Suffolk Swifts.

Mr Jackson said: “The swift is one of the iconic birds of our British summer but BTO surveys have shown over the last 20 to 25 years we have lost half the breeding swifts in the UK.”

He said losses of nesting sites in old buildings and a “drastic drop” in flying insects, making it difficult for swifts to feed, were among the reasons for the bird’s decline.

Mr Jackson continued; “We are pretty sure one of the main reasons is because swifts are losing their nest sites.

More swift nestboxes, this time being installed by Mr Steve DamantMore swift nestboxes, this time being installed by Mr Steve Damant

Typically, they nest in buildings but if the roofs are repaired or destroyed then these sites are lost.

“Very often people do not even know they have swifts nesting in their building - they fly in and out of a building so quickly.”

He said he hoped the week of events would go some way to raising awareness of the plight of the swift.

He added: “It is vital to protect nest sites where we can - we are trying to get the message to people, to builders and developers, that you must absolutely be sure you have no swifts nesting in a building before you start any work. The breeding season runs between May and August.”

Mr Jackson said he and other campaigners were working with developers to encourage them to put swift boxes on newly built houses.

“If 10% of new builds had a swift box, we can turn this around,” he said.

Mr Jackson talks are taking place at o Newmarket’s Memorial Hall on Tuesday June 19 and at The Key, St Margaret’s Plain, in Ipswich on Friday June 22. Both events start at 7pm.

Full listing of events is as follows:

• Sat 16 Jun: Swifts in Eye - drop-in display and meet Swift enthusiasts 1100 - 1300 - Bank Art Centre, Castle St, Eye, IP23 7AN

• ……followed by an early evening walk around the town looking out for our Swifts - 1730 - 1900 - starts at Bank Art Centre and ends at a nice pub!

• Sun 17 Jun: Aldeburgh’s Amazing Swifts - drop-in display and meet Swift enthusiasts - 1400 onwards - Snape Maltings Concert Hall, Snape, IP17 1SP

• Tue 19 Jun: Save Our Suffolk Swifts - illustrated talk by Edward Jackson 1900 - Memorial Hall, Newmarket, CB8 8JP

• Fri 22 Jun: Save Our Suffolk Swifts - illustrated talk by Edward Jackson 1900 - The Key, St Margaret’s Plain, Ipswich, IP4 2BB

• Sat 23 Jun: Wenhaston Open Gardens – at ‘Erica’ and ‘White Lodge’ 1400 - 1600 - both houses are on The Street, Wenhaston, IP19 9DP

•Sat 23 Jun: Aldeburgh Swift Walk - to view the town’s Swifts and nest boxes 1900 - meet at Moot Hall, Market Cross Place, Aldeburgh, IP15 5DS

Visit www.suffolkwildlifetrust.org/whats-on

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