As research reveals that swift populations have declined by 58% between 1995 and 2018, with the birds last year being added to the UK red list of conservation concerns, housebuilder David Wilson Homes has committed to protecting swifts at its developments across the country, including at Ersham Park in Hailsham. The housebuilder has partnered with wildlife charity RSPB to develop a unique ‘swift brick’, the first custom-designed nesting brick for swifts that can be safely implemented into the fabric of homes at its new build developments.
The brick’s innovative design responds to the loss of swift habitats across the UK, due to changes to roof design, the renovation of older properties and demolition of derelict buildings. To restore much-needed swift habitats in Hailsham, David Wilson Southern Counties will install a total of 87 swift bricks at Ersham Park, on Ersham Road, throughout the lifetime of the site.
These bricks form part of a new and widespread conservation movement, which has seen a total of 4,000 bricks introduced across the housebuilder’s developments in the South East since 2016. Having now hit its goal of installing 4,000 swift bricks across all developments, David Wilson Homes has announced a new uprated target of 7,000 swift bricks to be installed by the end of 2025.
Every year the swift helps announce the arrival of summer as they complete a 3,400 mile migration journey to nest and raise their young in the UK. They are the fastest bird in level flight, reaching up to 69mph, and don’t touch the ground for the first three years of their lives. Even after their early years, they only land to breed, continuing to eat, mate, and even sleep in the air.
David Thomas, Chief Executive of Barratt Developments, said: “Swifts are such important birds and we are pleased with the 4,000 swift bricks we have installed so far. But, we have to keep on working hard with the RSPB to give these birds even more homes, which is why we are raising our target by another 3,000 swift nesting bricks, aiming to install some 7,000 in total in our homes across the country by 2025.”
The RSPB has also partnered with the Swift Local Network and charity, Action for Swifts, to develop Swift Mapper – a web and app-based platform that allows anyone to record swift activity and nesting sites. Records submitted to Swift Mapper help people to learn more about this iconic species and target conservation efforts. Swift Mapper is available for download on the App Store and Google Play Store or can be accessed online at https://www.swiftmapper.org.uk.
Kimberley Benson, Sales and Marketing Director for David Wilson Southern Counties, comments: “As we continue building homes, it becomes even more important to find creative methods to welcome wildlife into our new developments. Our flagship swift brick design is just one way in which we are working to create a home for nature at Ersham Park and will ensure swift populations have a home for the long term.”