Copied this interesting letter from local newspaper.The SouthernStar.
Delighted to see Swift boxes
at Bantry church and school.
SIR – Whilst travelling
through Bantry town with my
family recently, I was greatly
surprised and delighted to see
that swift boxes (nest boxes
designed for swifts) have recently
been erected under the
eaves of the St Brendan’s
Church of Ireland in the town
square. As a keen naturalist
and a former wildlife scientist
with the Mammals and Birds
Unit at the former Ministry Of
Agriculture in England, this
is of great interest and encouragement
The swift, a bird somewhat
like the swallow in shape and
form but rather bigger and a
more powerful flyer, once a
fairly common bird in my
youth, due to the increased
building activities of man
causing the removal and destruction
of the ancient buildings
that provided suitable
nest sites and replaced by
modern ones unsuitable for
nesting, all the little crevices
they used are no longer in existence
and being deprived of
these sites they have declined
dramatically in number in recent
decades, sufficient to say
that now they are on the Irish
and European Protected
Species List and therefore are
in tremendous need of protection
wherever they are to be found,
and of active encouragement
to recolonise areas in which
they have been lost.
Swifts spend all their lives
on the wing, they eat, sleep
and even mate on the wing.
Contrary to popular belief
swifts do not foul the area beneath
and around their nests,
and they do not seek to enter
in to or nest inside buildings,
preferring instead direct access
outside under the roof of
the chosen building.
Curious as to who had been
responsible for theswift boxes
in Bantry and to how and why
they came to be erected there,
I made a few enquiries and
found out that not only had
they had been erected on St
Brendan’s Church, itself but
also on the Church of Ireland
School, and also that a webcam
is to be erected in one of
the nest boxes at the school
connected to the Internet so
that the children of the school
and people all over Ireland
and the world can access the
activity live in the nest.
Warm and grateful thanks
are extended the Church of
Ireland for the use of their
premises and for their wholehearted
support in embracing
the principle that the Lord has
given us that we are the stewards
of God’s creatures, He
commands us that we both
care for and protect them.
Grateful thanks also to the
people of Bantry town for
their open and wholehearted
support of this project which
may well be the first of its kind
in Ireland, and also to Bantry
Tidy Towns who are ever striving
to promote and further
the cause of wildlife in our
beautiful locality, hoping that
this gets them extra marks in
the tidy towns competition
The purpose of my letter is to
convey my congratulations
and gratitude to those folk involved
for making an effort to
protect and encourage what
is a truly magnificent rare
bird, and to encourage anybody
and everybody who has a
suitable site where these swift
boxes can be erected and accommodated
to do so, maybe
other towns will be encouraged
to consider such a project
in their own towns.
wow fantastic. I must contact them to ask if they are using the attraction CD
Brillant stuff by the Church of Ireland lads in Bantry Hopefully other churchs could do likewise.
Does anyone live close to Bantry? These people need wider publicity and links to there web cam
I'd like to know more about nest box type, how many etc but 330 miles is too far to go for a look myself. Maybe they have a web site of their own?
They not using a caller C.D as there are Swifts using both the Church and the school for nesting for years, but there are only a few places on both buildings suitable for nesting.There are four nestboxes on the Church and two on the school for this year to see how things go. The camera is not going to be fitted this year as its not known which box will be used if any.The nest boxes were bought on line.Its a local fellow thats doing it with the blessing of the Canon.
Great to hear of the swift boxes being erected in Bantry.We now have swift boxes from Bantry to Ballycastle.I know Bantry very well having spent many summers there in the fifties ,my father was from Skibbereen and i still have cousins living in Bantry.
I wonder if the swift colony still exists at the Eccles Hotel in Glengariff.
We in Northern Ireland are also doing our best for swifts ,you may have read the article i wrote for Bird Watch Ireland Wings ,you are not alone there are now swift boxes in Tubbbercurry Co Sligo, in Castlebar ,at Johnstown Castle Co Wexford and other locations in the midlands and the south.
We are now erecting swift towers here and mini swift towers for gardens like the purple martin houses in Nr America.
At my house in Crumlin Co Antrim i have twenty four breeding pairs and other members of the Northern Ireland Swift Group have large colonies in Antrim and Belfast ,one of our members was responsible for saving probably the largest colony in Nr Ireland .Keep up the fantastic work.
Brian Cahalane. Crumlin Co Antrim.
Yea there is still Swifts in the Eccles Hotel, usualy arrive on the 5th or 6th of May. There are a couple of pairs that nest in the Church in Glengarriff too.Theres a pair that nest in a house in bantry which is a very low nest site,its only about 10 ft high.Hope it never gets a PVC facia fitted.
Eould it be possible to know who has done the fantastic work in Bantry as i would like to discuss a few common factors with them.
Brian Cahalane Save our Swifts Group.
The brilliant thing about the Swift initiatives is that people are doing something tangible and immediate about the issue, and spending their time and resources on the actual projects, not on vanity websites.
Great work, hope your success continues.
They certainly get their message out. I was in a bird hide in Loch Garten Scotland last year and what was on the main message board in the hide, only the Save our Swifts project details.
That would be from Concern for Swifts, Scotland www.concernforswifts.com/
Swifts are back in numbers saw about 100 feeding yesterday at lough neagh, about ten back at my colony ,first on the 25th two boxes have both pairs back which is quite early.
Thanks to Mark for his earlier advice.
Happy to report 5 swift boxes were opened for business in the tower of the Abbey in Clane last weekend. See 'Saving Clane Swifts' article here for more pics and details: http://clanecommunity.ie/
Is that wood stain rather than protim on the boxes?
well done to all who were involved! Great to see you, and a few others, are leading the way in Ireland