28th April 2023 was an exciting day in Penns Road. The planning was over and the moment we had all been looking forward to, the installation of our Swift Boxes, had arrived. There were lots of neighbours in the street watching the boxes going up and receiving advice and information from the knowledgable Tim and Roger from Hampshire Swifts. Arriving at 8.30am they worked their way around Penns Road efficiently and 21 boxes were up by 2pm!
A Penns Road resident mentioned to a friend that the boxes were going up. Within the hour Tim and Roger had put up an unexpected extra box a short distance from Penns Road and then went on to put up a box at other home in Petersfield. Due to the nature of the exterior of my house I need a bespoke installation and will be getting my boxes in a few weeks time. I also want a call box. I am happy for the moment that I will still be able to enjoy my neighbours boxes when the swifts arrive.
I hope other residents across Petersfield will feel inspired by what is happening in Penns Road. Every street that participates will help to realise the PeCAN Swift Streets project. It would make so much difference to these disappearing birds. They cannot breed without the help of these boxes now that we have plastic soffits which prevent them from nesting. They are clean birds unlike Martins and Swallows. It would be wonderful to build Swift Streets and eventually see Screams of Swifts swooping across the whole town.
The inspiring talk given by Catharine Gale from Hampshire Swifts was so popular it was oversubscribed and a repeat will follow later in the year - keep an eye on PeCAN's events. We all learnt so much. Attendees included residents from Petersfield, nearby towns and surrounding villages. Many of them are putting plans in place to encourage swifts by putting up boxes or adding to those they have already. Our neighbouring village Buriton has increased their number of boxes and I hope this will inspire Petersfield residents to pick up the baton and get the swifts all over the town.
Everyone who participated in this project has enjoyed it, even without any swifts, as yet. There is a real sense of excitement that over the next couple of years our boxes will be adopted by the swifts. We shall have done something tangible to save these amazing birds. It has also brought the street together with a shared endeavour and a sense of community.
We are all looking up to the sky awaiting their return to Penns Road. By the time this appears on the website they might be here! At the talk we learnt that 27th April is the average date for the arrival of swifts to Hampshire. Keep your eyes on the skies!
Be inspired and put up a box.
Sophie Swift – Looking to the Southern Sky
Swift boxes cost £35 for a single and £65 for a double. They are made and installed by the charity Hampshire Swifts. If you would like a swift box for your house please fill out a form here. Not every home is suitable for swifts but the charity will check yours and let you know.