A LIPHOOK resident wants swift action to help save an endangered species of bird from disappearing from our skies. 

Karin Lauritzen lives on The Square in Liphook and has recently had Swift boxes installed on her house and she wants the entire square to follow in her footsteps. 

The boxes are part of a nationwide campaign to provide nesting sites for Swift birds.

“Swifts are in deep trouble,” said Catharine Gale, trustee of Hampshire Swifts. “They are undergoing a catastrophic decline. Since 1994 their population has declined by 62 per cent in the UK as a whole and by 70 per cent in the South East, including Hampshire.”

Hampshire Swifts
A pair of chicks have found a safe haven in a Swift box, now their parents will return every year to this nest (Hampshire Swifts)

One of the major contributors to the Swifts’ decline is loss of nesting sites. Swifts are a migrating bird, spending winter in South and central Africa before returning to the UK in May to breed. Thousands of years ago the Swifts nested in holes in trees or in crevices in cliffs. Now that is very rare. Swifts have become entirely dependent on buildings for their nest sites. 

“Thousands of Swift nest sites are lost each year when buildings are demolished, re-roofed or renovated, or when plastic soffits and fascias are installed,” said Catharine. “Preserving existing nest sites and providing new nest sites is crucial if we are to prevent Swifts becoming extinct in the UK.    Thousands of new nest sites are needed each year to halt the decline.”

Swift boxes and bricks are available from Hampshire Swifts, who can even install them for you.

Swift boxes at Karin's home
Swift boxes at Karin's home (Karin Lauritzen)

Karin recently got her boxes installed and even convinced the neighbouring bike shop to do the same. 

Swift boxes at Liphook Cycles
Swift boxes at Liphook Cycles (Karin Lauritzen)

She said: “The great thing is people can actually do something to save these amazing birds.”

For more information head to www.hampshireswifts.co.uk  For advice or if you’re interested in having swift boxes on your house, email [email protected]