Woodside Festival


THE festival for live music, art, wild activities, good food and drink; all in support of local wildlife.



All of our latest news, campaigns, and special offers straight to your inbox!

Swifts get new Derby homes

Sunday 15th October 2017

Swift boxes, Nick BrownSwift boxes, Nick Brown

Derby Homes has started a programme of putting nest boxes for swifts into some of their properties in the city while they are having new cladding fitted.

The first house to have new swift boxes is on Cambridge Street, Spondon where three have been set into one of the walls.

Eddie Weston, Derby Homes’ Senior Maintenance Surveyor said: “With advice from Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, we became aware that putting cladding on houses which may have swifts nesting inside them could block up the entrance holes to their nests. So, when appropriate, we avoid working in the summer on houses where we have been told swifts are nesting and we are now building swift nest boxes into the new cladding so they will still have somewhere to lay their eggs.
This is the first house to have boxes put in but we will be putting more in whenever possible.”

Swifts make very little mess when they nest and do no harm to the fabric of the building.

Nick Brown, who runs the Swift Conservation Project, supported by the Trust and by the Derbyshire Ornithological Society said: “Swifts are the sound of summer in our cities and many people who have them nesting look forward eagerly to their return from Africa each spring. However, this bird’s numbers have been dropping dramatically with half the population disappearing in the last thirty years. One major reason for their rapid decline is the accidental blocking of the small entrance holes under the eaves through which they access their nests. So this brilliant initiative by Derby Homes is very much welcomed.”

Not only will the cladding reduce climate change by insulating the properties, swifts that may otherwise have been homeless will now have somewhere to nest next summer.”

Shaun Bennett, Director of Investment and Maintenance at Derby Homes said: “We are very excited to be working with Derbyshire Wildlife Trust in helping swifts and are very keen to conserve these remarkable birds that stay airborne for most of their lives, only coming to land when they nest in our buildings”.

Swifts make very little mess when they nest and do no harm to the fabric of the building. They also eat many thousands of mosquitoes, midges and flies so can make a real difference to people’s lives. They arrive back from Africa in May but have usually finished breeding by early August when they set off south again. Tiny tracking devices fitted to some birds have shown that they spend much of our winter flying about over the Congo forests feeding on tiny insects before making the return flight back to the UK.

Swifts are entirely dark in colour unlike swallows and martins that are white underneath. They fly in tight groups low over the rooftops where they nest making the screaming calls so characteristic of our urban summer soundscapes.