Edinburgh World Heritage - News Article


Saving Edinburgh's Swifts

EWH is helping out with a new project trying to increase the swift population in Edinburgh.

Aug 27, 2013

Swift numbers have declined by an alarming 52% between 1994 and 2007 according to the Breeding Bird Survey. The primary cause of this decline is thought to be related to a loss of nest sites.

In Edinburgh, they mainly nest in cracks and fissures or under the eaves in tenements and other traditionally built properties, sometimes with a detrimental effect on the historic fabric. The nests are often removed and the gaps sealed during repair works, so many nest sites are lost. Swifts will try to nest in the same sites if suitable nest spaces can be found or if artificial new sites can be provided.

The new project in collaboration with City of Edinburgh Council’s bio-diversity officers aims to install specially designed nesting boxes to help increase the swift population. As part of its Green Heritage project, EWH has funded the construction of 20 swift boxes, targeted on areas where swift sightings have been more frequent. The nesting boxes have been made in partnership with Saughton Prison, as a project with the inmates.

The first boxes have been installed at property of Lister Housing on Lauriston Place, but more locations are needed in the World Heritage Site. Right: Alistair Cant of Lister Housing with the newly installed nesting boxes.

Teachers! If you would like to help the project by installing a nesting box at your school please let us know.

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