One way The Ashfield Partnership aims to do this is to install at least one special swift brick in each new home we build, helping to provide the birds with a place in which they can safely hatch and rear their young.
While it’s yet to happen, the universal adoption of this simple measure by planners and housebuilders could create hundreds of thousands of safe new breeding sites for swifts and other struggling birds across the country.
Promising signs at Luzborough Green
The Ashfield Estate’s Luzborough Green community in Romsey, Hampshire, has been leading the way for ensuring nesting bricks are installed on every new build home. In total, our building partners have installed 61 integral nest boxes in the community’s 56 properties over the past two-year building period.
As the build has only recently been completed, a survey of the impact of the bricks during a full breeding season is yet to be conducted. However, interim visits have indicated that 5 out of 35 nesting bricks in Phase 1 of the build were occupied in 2019 and 19 were occupied in the 2020 season.
While swifts have been seen flying overhead, they have yet to come down to take advantage of the bricks. However, starlings and house sparrows, two other species experiencing significant decline, have been spotted nesting there. A great thing about swift bricks is that they don’t just provide homes to swifts. They attract all manner of declining urban bird species, such as the red-listed house sparrow and starling, as well as great tits and house martins.
As the bricks have been colonised so quickly, this is a very positive sign that the occupancy rate will continue to increase for the 2021 breeding season. With all the evidence pointing at the success of nesting brick to help our declining bird population, The Ashfield Partnership will continue to include at least one next brick in all future new build homes. Indeed, all homes built in our new development at Mountbatten Park, which is due to begin construction in 2021, will include nest bricks as standard at an average of one per dwelling.
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