Ashby Co-op's 'distinctive tower' is being used as location to help nesting swifts

Chris Dickinson, from Ashby, has been concerned by the decline in swift numbers in the skies above the town over the last few years

By Graham Hill

Posted: Sunday, 05th May 2024 7:00 am

The nesting boxes were fitted on Tuesday morning. Photo: Supplied
The nesting boxes were fitted on Tuesday morning. Photo: Supplied
Local initiatives

Ashby's Co-op in Derby Road is now being used to provide a nesting location for swifts.

Wildlife enthusiast, Chris Dickinson, from Ashby, has been concerned by the decline in swift numbers in the skies above the town over the last few years. 

He explained: "We only see Swifts in the summer, they come to the UK to nest and rear young. 

"We see their streamlined arrow shape soaring in flight across our skies, and hear their screaming calls as they hunt insects in the air. 

"They usually nest in holes in old buildings and walls but these sites have been disappearing as local householders renovate and rebuild older homes."

The plan to mount six swift nesting boxes on the tower of the Co-op store went off without a hitch on Tuesday morning - drawing a few questioning glances as the scissor lift ascended with Chris on board, deftly steered by Johnny from All Counties Scaffolding (Midlands) Ltd.

Chris said: "I just didn't look down."

But having two pairs of hands to drill the holes for the mounting screws and juggle the boxes into place meant the job was 'swiftly' done.

Now, the watch for the Swifts starts, with their return expected any day now.

Chris looked for new possible nesting locations in Ashby and approached Richard Walton, manager of the Co-op store on Derby Road, to ask if nesting boxes could be mounted on the walls of the store. 

Chris Dickinson approached the Co-op about the nesting boxes

The supermarket building has a distinctive tower which would give the swifts the height they need for their flight departure from the nest. 

Richard said he was happy to give his permission.

He said: "It's a fantastic project and I'm glad that the Co-op can play its part in supporting it.

"I look forward to seeing the Swifts return in years to come." 

Chris made the six nesting boxes and they have now been fitted.

The plan has been supported financially by Nigel Bowler of All Counties Scaffolding (Midlands) Ltd, who arranged for the provision of the scissor platform to reach the required height.

The North West Leicestershire group of the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust have also been happy to support the costs of the project. 

Calista and Libby Catley-Richardson painting the Swift boxes. Photos: Supplied

Committee member, Phil Richardson, whose granddaughters painted the nesting boxes to match the white walls, said "Swifts pair for life and return every year to the same nesting place. 

"We're hoping to offer the latest generation new opportunities to find homes so that we can enjoy their presence year after year."

The plans for the boxes are available on the internet and they are straightforward to make. 

Local Councillors are being approached to ask house builders to incorporate Swift nesting bricks into new homes. 

But anyone with a suitable wall is encouraged to mount a box.

You can find more details HERE.


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