Donors flock to make student nest box project a reality
PUBLISHED: 08:00 20 February 2019
Student conservationists are hoping to attract a colony of swifts after nest boxes were installed at Colchester Sixth Form College.
At total of 14 boxes were fixed beneath the eaves of one of the school’s buildings.
Swifts are naturally cliff-nesting birds that have adapted to thrive in the roof spaces of houses and churches but as the construction of buildings has changed, so swift numbers have declined drastically.
The purchase of the boxes and speaker system that plays swift ‘screams’ to attract the fast-flying birds to the nests, was made possible through a generous contribution by Essex Wildlife Trust’s Colchester group.
Acting chair of the group, Diane Cattermole, said: “The installation of the Colchester Sixth Form College swift nest boxes is exactly the sort of local wildlife initiative that we like to support.”
Liam Monahan of Richard Fordham Tree Surgeons in Bures also helped to make the college’s nest box appeal a reality by bringing along a cherry-picker for the day and giving his time for free, so that the boxes could be fitted high up. Swift expert John Smart also advised throughout the project.
The swift nest box appeal is the latest conservation project at the college, reflecting widespread concern among young people about mass extinctions and climate change.
Gemma Polley was one of the students who paid to sponsor a nest box. The 18-year-old is planning to study Ecology and Conservation at the University of East Anglia in the future.
She said: “I got involved with the project because of my passion for the environment and because of my conviction that we need to do more to save threatened species.
“Many students are becoming more environmentally conscious, and more aware of what we must do to save our local wildlife and the entire planet. Swifts don’t only need somewhere to nest; they also need insects and spiders to feed on.”
Colchester Sixth Form College is developing a reputation as somewhat of centre for birding.
Later this spring, the college will be running its Peregrine Watch Point for the second year, inviting members of the public to enjoy superb views of the falcons, which have chosen to nest on Jumbo, Colchester’s landmark water tower.