“Summer wouldn’t be summer without them” – Totley is now ready for the arrival of 'incredible' endangered bird

A Totley group is celebrating the arrival of specially made nest boxes just in time for the arrival of an ‘incredible’ endangered bird in less than a month.

Friday, 16th April 2021, 9:49 am
Mick Warwick (left) of Totley Swifts Group and Lester Hartmann (right) of Peak Boxes

Friends of Gillfield Wood, a voluntary group from the Totley area, previously drafted in the help of a Peak District joiner to design and make special nest boxes for some ‘amazing’ summer resident swifts.

Now, Lester Hartmann of Peak Boxes, a joiner and swift expert from Hathersage, has provided and installed the boxes for residents in the Laverdene Estate, Totley, just in time for the swifts’ migration.

Sally Goldsmith, from Friends of Gillfield Wood, said: “We are trying to do our bit in Totley to encourage them, so we got a grant from the council to provide some nest boxes and then we financed some ourselves.

Lester fixes one of the boxes on the estate

“We are ready for them. Summer wouldn’t be summer without the sound and sight of the swifts swerving over our heads. We want more.”

Swifts are sadly drastically declining in numbers having previously shared buildings at breeding time since Roman times, but we have lost over 50 per cent of the swift population in the UK in only 20 years.

The group plan to to count and survey the swifts, particularly to see if they show interest in the new boxes.

The youngest surveyor, Bronwyn Shaw, is ten years old and has a new swift box at her house.

One of the oldest residents to get a new box, Jim Higgins, 80, remembers when swift numbers were much greater and is excited to welcome them back.

Sheffield Vulcan Rotary Club have also bought a number of boxes to give to schools, residential premises for disadvantaged young people, and colleges.

The boxes need to be mounted on an east or north wall, preferably under the eaves, and adjacent to a down pipe.

Four metres or above is an ideal height and they need a line of sight approach with no wires or trees obstructing their approach.

They have already provided a box to The Sheffield Sea Cadets Unit on Rutland Road, and are now looking for more to help.

If your school or college is interested, contact Nigel Thomas at [email protected]