Through the Oxford Swift City Group residents of Oxford can get involved in swift conservation in the city.
The Oxford Swift City Group has been formed to continue, on a voluntary basis, the Oxford Swift City project which launched in 2017 funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The project has raised awareness of the severe decline in swift numbers, provided nest boxes and surveyed nest sites in the city.
Swifts like to nest in buildings and used to be common in cities but their numbers have dropped by 50% in the last twenty years. A likely cause of this is that buildings tend to be better maintained these days and they find fewer holes and gaps under roofs to be able to get in and create a nest. Undoubtedly the decline in the numbers of insects – their main food – is a big factor too.
Volunteers have been surveying swift nest sites in the city for the last few years. Each volunteer is given a half-kilometre square patch to survey on two evenings in each of May, June and July which is when swifts nest.
The Oxford Swift City project is offering free swift nest boxes to community groups, schools, colleges, sports clubs, businesses and individuals in Oxford City. Recipient groups also get information packs to help raise awareness among their members as well as a pack of wildflower seeds. Wildflowers provide food for insects and insects are food for swifts.
The free boxes are only available on a first-come-first-served basis. If you have a two-storey building or a bungalow with a high gable end please apply for a box or two.
Contact us at OxfordSwiftCity@rspb.org.uk if you would like
• an application form for nest boxes
• to be on our circulation list for updates
• to volunteer for the survey
Images by Lewis Smith.
Last Updated: Friday 22 February 2019