There will be a warm welcome in Bridgend’s North Cornelly this month for some very special feathered summer visitors: Swifts. And it’s hoped by those behind a nesting box initiative (Valleys to Coast, Glamorgan Bird Club and Bridgend Local Nature Partnership), that the birds will establish a permanent summer home and increase in numbers.
On this year's International Day for Biological Diversity, the theme, 'we’re part of the solution', asks us to consider how we can live in harmony with nature and help to prevent biodiversity loss. Valleys to Coast is committed to promoting biodiversity across our estates and recognises how we as an organisation can be a part of the solution by supporting initiatives like this.
Howard Driver (left), and Strinda Davies (right)
Swifts make a remarkable 14,000 mile return trip to the same breeding area every year from Africa around this time, and remain loyal to their partners. But they are in drastic decline due to the loss of traditional nesting sites. Which is why a new partnership was formed to research where to replace lost nesting sites, with six suitably positioned nest boxes now installed on the Marlas Estate.
“Sadly, Swifts are a declining species,” Glamorgan Bird Club Trustee, Strinda Davies, explained. “As a charity committed to the conservation and enjoyment of birds in our area of South Wales, we are delighted to be working with Valleys to Coast for the benefit of these majestic summer migrants.”
The project was the result of diligent monitoring by bird club members, of breeding Swift populations in the communities of Kenfig Hill, Pyle and North Cornelly over the past few years as part of the RSPB UK wide Swift-mapping project.
Photo by Tim Collier
Swifts arriving around this time will depart in August for their wintering grounds in the African Congo. They spend most of their life on the wing, landing only once they enter a nest site. They live for around five years, yet only reach breeding age at three to four years of age.
“Swift numbers are in drastic decline due to the loss of their habitual nest sites,” laments Jess Hartley, Coordinator of Bridgend Local Nature Partnership. “But we are very pleased to be able to financially support this initiative to ensure the nest boxes were installed safely by Glamorgan Bird Club volunteers, using their expertise and specialist knowledge.”
Andy Jones, Community Housing Team Leader with Valleys to Coast, said:
“Being the manager of properties in the Marlas Estate, Valleys to Coast is pleased to support this initiative as part of our commitment to supporting biodiversity, enabling our residents to experience a variety of wildlife on their doorstep.
“This past year has highlighted the importance and benefits of conservation projects like these. And at Valleys to Coast we know that partnerships like these can enable us to achieve even more in our community, creating safe and happy places for people and nature alike. We look forward to future initiatives.”