RSPB Solihull Local Group launched the Swifts and Sparrows Project in Spring this year with a survey of these birds in Solihull Borough. Swifts are a red listed species that need urgent action, as they have declined by more than 50% in the last 25 years . For this reason Swifts are our priority, and why we have set up this funding appeal. Sparrows have also declined significantly, and we will be helping them too. Our plan for them is at the foot of this page. The reason for these marked declines is largely due to older houses being renovated and the gaps in the soffits and eaves being closed up, preventing the birds from entering and breeding. Newer houses are built sealed up, preventing birds from breeding within the eaves or roof spaces. To rectify this, and to allow the birds to breed we need to fit nestboxes. Having now established a number of places where we have Swifts and Sparrows in Solihull during the summer of 2023, we now need to move on to the next phase of the project.
Our Plan for Swifts...
This requires fitting nest boxes to buildings close to where they are already nesting to encourage more to take up residence. This should stabilise or even increase the population. To entice Swifts into their new boxes, it is recommended to play the calls swifts make from close to the boxes. Younger birds that are breeding for the first time are particularly attracted this way.
Swift boxes are larger (and more expensive) than typical garden nestboxes for Sparrows, and need to be mounted at least 5 metres high, which requires people who are trained to work at height. A swift box painted to match white soffits is shown below
Your donation will help us to buy a number of nest boxes and call units and get them fitted.
Sparrows, along with House Martins, Swallows and Starlings sometimes use unoccupied swift boxes to breed. All these species have declined, and could be helped by fitting swift boxes. These species breed earlier than Swifts, so we need to fit the swift boxes around April, to maximise the uptake of them by Swifts when they arrive back from Africa in early May.
Conserving Swifts brings people and communities together. By working together on this project, utilising the different skills and making the most of each persons interests, experience and enthusiasm we can preserve the colonies we have, and even increase them over time. Longer term we hope to set up a dedicated swift group, who will maintain the swift boxes and continue the work to conserve Swifts into the future
Will you help us to conserve these charismatic birds that fly 3,400 miles from Africa every year and signify the start of long warm summer days?
And for Sparrows...
The solution is similar, in that we need to provide nestboxes to stabilise and bolster the colonies that remain. These nest boxes are smaller, lighter and can be fitted lower down, at around 3m high. This negates the need for specialist contractors, and can be fitted by householders or volunteers. Alongside the work to help the Swifts in Solihull, we will be providing sparrow nestboxes and advice to people living in the areas where we have Sparrows to encourage them to help and monitor these friendly little birds.
Can you help to conserve our Sparrows, that brighten up our gardens and suburban streets?