Swifts are the perfect house guest. They are only in the UK for three months of the year, make no mess when nesting and help get rid of flying insects and mosquitoes. Sadly, their numbers have been rapidly declining, due in part it is thought, to the lack of homes in our urban environments.
The new swift tower at the plant could help provide a home for up to 12 swifts. Standing approximately 2.5 metres high, close to the weighbridge the new tower incorporates a ‘caller’, a pre-recorded sound of a swift’s call that plays at dusk and dawn to encourage new occupants to move in.
“I’m sure our new tower will be a great home for any swifts coming to Manchester and hopefully over the coming years, they will make our plant their UK destination. There’s nothing like seeing and hearing swifts soar over rooftops on a summer’s evening. They are amazing birds and one of the fastest flying birds in the world,” comments Phil Repton, Hope Street plant manager.
CEMEX is working in partnership with the RSPB to increase the biodiversity of its 400+ sites. The introduction of the swift tower is one of the measures to help give nature a home.
Rebecca Pitman, RSPB Swift Cities Project Officer says “The swift is truly an urban bird and sadly they have declined by an alarming 47% between 1995–2014. They are now an amber-listed species on the list of Birds of Conservation Concern.
“When they arrive back in the UK from Africa they return to the exact same location year after year. Swifts like to nest in the rooftops of old buildings but developments and renovations often destroy suitable sites. The new CEMEX tower can offer this great bird a great home,” Rebecca concludes.
Notes to editors:
For further CEMEX details contact Elizabeth Young; email: Elizabeth.firstname.lastname@example.org t: 01932 583214.
Swifts are some of the last spring migrants to arrive in the UK, but will be among the first to leave. They only remain in Britain from May to August. At the beginning of the summer they fly from Africa to the UK to nest and raise their chicks. Over the course of their 6,000 mile journey they never touch the ground; eating and sleeping whilst in flight.
Their diet consists of insects like flies, mosquitoes and midges. Swifts collect insects by making a ball of food (or “bolus”) in their throat, which can contain up to 1,000 insects. They feed the chicks many times a day and the parents can gather as many as 100,000 insects a day.
Swifts fly on average 800 km every day (nearly 500 miles), and about 2 million km (more than 1.2 million miles) in a lifetime, which is more than four trips to the Moon and back.
Their nests are minimal, made from stuff they collect in the air, such as feathers, paper, straw, hay and seeds. These materials are cemented with saliva and used to build a nest in open eaves, under loose roof tiles and in holes in walls. After the chicks have fledged most of the nest is disposed of by invertebrates and the remaining is often reused year after year.
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