CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to EADT Suffolk today CLICK HERE

Saving the swifts in Aldeburgh with a new conservation project

PUBLISHED: 16:10 25 June 2018 | UPDATED: 16:10 25 June 2018

Swift

Swift

© Oscar Dewhurst

A conservation project started in Aldeburgh is spreading the word about saving endangered swifts from extinction | Words: Rebecca McPhie

Aldeburgh is one of Suffolk’s best known coastal towns, attracting holiday makers and day trippers in their droves, particularly during the summer. They come to discover the famed shingle beaches and the wild and wonderful marshes, to stroll along the high street, browse the shops and galleries, to enjoy a drink and a bite to eat.

But for some seasonal visitors, the swifts that return every year, it’s the town’s distinctive and historic architecture that’s the main attraction – the parish church, the Moot Hall and the 60-plus listed buildings.

A few decades ago swifts were a common sight in summer, soaring, dipping and darting in the sky as they hunted for insects. But populations have declined so rapidly in recent years that they are now endangered. If that decline continues at its current rate, the UK’s swift population will be extinct in just 30 years.

Swift boxesSwift boxes

Intensive modern farming methods, particularly the use of insecticides throughout the UK and Europe, have damaged their food source, and in our desire to modernise and insulate our properties we have inadvertently blocked up nesting holes. So far, so bleak.

But all is not lost. Spearheaded by Aldeburgh residents Alan Collett and his wife, Christine, Aldeburgh’s Amazing Swifts has been created to publicise the swifts’ decline and raise awareness of how people can help the little bird. “Since we started the conservation project, in May 2017, we have engaged with many residents and local builders to raise awareness of how to halt the swifts’ decline,” says Alan.

“We have now installed nearly 60 swift boxes throughout the town, which is many more than our original target, and there is a street map and information board in the library to show where they have been installed.” Local businesses and homeowners are also helping by displaying flags and banners.

Sally Owen, brand mnager at Suffolk Secrets, Allan and Christine Collett, form Aldeburgh's Amazing SwiftsSally Owen, brand mnager at Suffolk Secrets, Allan and Christine Collett, form Aldeburgh's Amazing Swifts

Lettings agency Suffolk Secrets, which has an office in the high street, has helped to finance more swift boxes including three in the parish church belfry, which will be wired to a camera to enable live screening of the swifts, should they successfully nest in years to come.

George Bradley, Suffolk Secrets general manager, said as soon as he heard about Alan’s campaign, he had to get involved.

“Over the past two years, our Suffolk Secrets AONB fund has contributed over £25,000 to local environmental, cultural, educational and conservation groups of which Aldeburgh’s Amazing Swifts are one.

A post shared by James Balston (@jamesbalston) on

“Over the course of this year and early next, we’re hoping that evwen more of our homeowners will put up a swift box on their properties.”

So successful has the Aldeburgh’s Amazing Swift initiative been that the next stage of the project is to spread the word beyond the town and encourage the rest of Suffolk – and further afield – to put up swift boxes on their homes.

Alan and Christine will be manning stalls during UK Swift Awareness Week, June 16-23, in Aldeburgh and Snape Maltings during the Aldeburgh Festival.

Alan has also written a children’s book, called Storm, The Story of Aldeburgh’s Amazing Swift, to further raise awareness. Copies are available for a small donation in the Aldeburgh Book Shop and in the Suffolk Secrets’ Aldeburgh office.

Swifts are known to be very vocal little birds, but it seems only fair that Alan should have the last word on such an inspiring local conservation story.

“A sincere and heartfelt thanks to everybody who has put up a swift box on their Aldeburgh home so far and we encourage anyone wanting to help with future conservation efforts to be mindful of swifts when doing house repairs or, even better, to put up their own swift box,” he says.

“Suffolk is already at the forefront of conservation efforts with groups such as Action for Swifts, and Save our Suffolk Swifts, helping to halt the decline in the swift population and this is something that we can be really proud of.”

_______________

Follow Suffolk Mag on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other EADT Suffolk Magazine visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by EADT Suffolk Magazine staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique EADT Suffolk Magazine account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

13:23

Its unusual building? Intriguing history? Or distinctly weird collection of contents? Words & Photos: Lindsay Want

Read more
Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Beccles & District Museum in Sir John Leman’s House high above the River Waveney, was home to an historic free school for over 350 years | Words & Photos: Lindsay Want

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

There’s nowhere quite like Suffolk during the festive period with so many different places putting you right in the Christmas spirit. Here are 10 great places for you to shop, stay and visit

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Make sure there’s plenty of battery on your camera, you’re going to be doing a lot of snapping. We’ve picked 18 places in Suffolk where you can find the very best views

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

It may be Suffolk’s coastal towns and villages that largely get all the attention but our county town has been one Britain’s most important port locations and has an incredibly rich culture and heritage. Here are 24 reasons you should love Ipswich

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

We’re lucky to have such a diverse selection of towns and villages in Suffolk to explore, experience and live in. Here are 9 must-see streets to consider for your next journey round the county.

Read more
Friday, September 28, 2018

Lindsay Want treads the ancient paths of pilgrims and mighty barons between Castle Hedingham and Clare

Read more
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The Suffolk coast is a fantastic place to explore, whatever the season. So, whether you love sinking your toes into sandy beaches, cycling quiet country lanes, going off the beaten walking track, watching wildlife, soaking up some local history, or simply wandering around charming coastal towns, there’s plenty to keep everyone happy.

Read more
Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Lindsay Want steps into the artist’s iconic painting of 18th century Bulmer couple Mr & Mrs Andrews

Read more
Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Do you know your Bawdseys from your Blakeneys and your Cromers from your Covehithes? Take our quiz to test your knowledge of the Suffolk and Norfolk coast!

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

EADT Suffolk Magazine regular newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy


Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search