As a small diversion from Housing Technology’s usual coverage, Yorkshire Housing has been doing its bit to help with the survival of the swift, an enigmatic bird that spends most of its life in the air, feeding, drinking, bathing and even sleeping on the wing, only landing to nest.
The species has always relied on openings in older buildings to find a place to make their nests, often returning to the same site every year, making Yorkshire Housing’s older properties ideal for nesting. However, with many of these buildings’ roof spaces being repaired or replaced, the swift faces something of a crisis. According to the RSPB, swifts have declined by 38 per cent over the past 25 years, putting them on the ‘amber’ list of conservation concern.
Yorkshire Housing decided to work with local group Helmsley Swifts. Whenever Yorkshire Housing has repaired and changed roof spaces, local group Helmsley Swifts has then gone in to fit a swift-friendly bird box. Over the past few months, a number of new nest boxes have been put up on Yorkshire Housing properties in Helmsley to encourage swifts to make a home there ahead of their breeding season.
Glen Cranfield, investment project surveyor, Yorkshire Housing, said, “When we became aware that the upgrading of our roof spaces was taking away the nesting space for the swifts, Yorkshire Housing got in touch with Helmsley Swifts. We agreed on a plan of them installing bird boxes in the same location to prevent this problem.”
Jonathan Pomroy from Helmsley Swifts and author of ‘On Crescent Wings’ said, “Many nests in Helmsley are located under pan tiles in the loft space and consist of material such as feathers, bud cases and pieces of grass. So when Yorkshire Housing was repairing the roof space, that meant that the swifts would lose their nesting spaces. Anything that people can do to make buildings more swift-friendly is welcome; we would like to thank Yorkshire Housing for helping this very special bird.”