Read on, for an update on the Swift Streets swift box installations in Penns and Station Road...

Hello sparrows

It has been an interesting and exciting time following the installation of the Penns Road swift boxes in April this year. Everyone was aware that it was unlikely the swifts would take them up this year - we are all in it for the long haul. What was most exciting was that at least four boxes were taken up almost immediately by sparrows, who seemed thrilled to have more places to nest or perch in. This is a great step forward as swifts are more likely to take up a box if it has been used by sparrows, which nest much earlier. Our collective fingers are crossed for next year.

Calling out to the swifts

I latterly had a call box installed due to requiring a bijou AirBNB set of three boxes, installed later than the others, and it seemed to bring more swifts overhead so I am hoping with this in place ahead of their arrival in 2024 they will be drawn in and find all 25 boxes situated in different directions on Penns and Station Roads. They were installed under the advice and knowledge of Tim and Roger from Hampshire Swifts, a charity set up to try and create nest sites for swifts coming from Africa to England to breed. I wanted a call box to help lure the swifts in. I was advised to put it on in the morning, at lunch time, and in the early evening for best results. I didn't have any complaints from neighbours - you can control the time and the level of sound - and it was on a timer so very easy to use.

A big thank you

I would like to thank all my neighbours in Penns and Station Road for their support and also for the enthusiasm and collective joy we have experienced in making this project take off. I would also like to thank Hampshire Swifts, in particular Tim Norris and Roger, for putting our boxes up in a super efficient way and for all the advice they have given us.

Finally to Petersfield Climate Action Network. It is wonderful that PeCAN has adopted "Swift Streets" for Petersfield and I hope other streets in the town and surrounding area will be able to share in the pleasure that Buriton and Penns Road have felt in adopting this simple step to save these very special birds. There are other small pockets of installations in Petersfield and other towns and villages across East Hants and Midhurst.

Please consider getting involved with this project for 2024 to help create another Swift Street in Petersfield! It is a good Autumn/Winter project and the sooner you and your neighbours sign up, the sooner you will be able to get on Tim's list for installations, which is run by volunteers.

It was also great that PeCAN set up a talk from Catherine Gale of Hampshire Swifts. It was a very successful and busy event, and so a repeat talk is being held on 12th September at 7pm. You need to book a place, and you can do so HERE. The first talk demonstrated how much interest there is in these birds, and in installing swift boxes across East Hampshire, Midhurst and along the Rother Valley.

Please make it happen!

If you are thinking about doing this please contact PeCAN. Visit the Tuesday Eco Cafe at Winton House from 10am to midday, or join the monthly evening gathering - the next friendly social gathering is on Wednesday 20th September 7-9pm at Ruby & Monty's (19 High Street). Find out more here. This is how I connected with PeCAN, and they have been enthusiastic supporters of our project. If I am available I will be happy to talk to you about how we did it here in Penns Road.

Come and have a stroll round Penns Road where you can see the boxes and how discreet they are, and all put up in a couple of hours by Tim and Roger. They are facing South, East and West. Make your street a Swift Street! You will find this a positive experience and you will get to know your neighbours. Help biodiversity and and save our swifts. Tim Norriss will support your efforts and answer any questions too.

Flying High and looking to the South in April 2024...

Sophie Swift