Help urban development...for birds

Northwich Guardian: A swift at a nestbox A swift at a nestbox

NATURE loving residents are being urged to become housebuilders during National Nestbox Week.

Conservation charity Cheshire Wildlife Trust are offering advice on how build homes for more unusual feathered neighbours during the week, from February 14 to 21.

Along with the traditional boxes that millions of homes have for birds like blue tits and robins, the trust says urban birds like swifts and house sparrows also need a lift up the housing ladder.

House sparrows in particular, are keen on the northern appeal of the Coronation Street terrace, with couples happy to nest alongside their neighbours in rows of three or more nestboxes, vital for a bird that whose population has plummeted by almost three-quarters since the 1970s.

Swifts require a high-rise residence near the roofline – leading to construction companies developing dedicated ‘bricks’ that are the pre-fabs of the modern age, including a self-contained nest hidden inside.

Tom Marshall, from the trust, said: “Nestboxes are now a common fixture in millions of backyards across the country – and collectively our gardens are probably the biggest nature reserve we have in Britain.

“While it’s great to give a helping hand to those garden neighbours we know and love, taking the time to think about less well-known birds like the swift could really make a huge difference to their survival, especially in urban areas.

“Here in Cheshire, nestboxes are proving crucial for some of our rarest wildlife like the dormouse too, so despite being around for almost two centuries, nestboxes are as crucial today as they’ve always been.”

The Trust has provided a ‘property guide’ and top ten of nextboxes you can buy or build at home at their website cheshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/nestbox-week.

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