Dyfi Biosphere Swift Project
Did you know that swifts can live in the air for ten months without landing?
The Dyfi Biosphere Swift Project (Proisect Gwennol Ddu Biosffer Dyfi) is a collaborative scheme brought together through the Machynlleth Biodiversity Group, local wildlife enthusiasts, volunteers and carpenters, connected through the Natur Dyfi Facebook group and run through the organisation ‘Ecodyfi’.
Beginning at the end of 2021, the project planned to install swift nesting boxes on suitable buildings throughout the Dyfi Biosphere to provision new nesting sites for this declining and enigmatic species. By the beginning of May 2022, the group had managed to install a total of 80 boxes across the valley, just in time for the first Swifts to begin arriving and start prospecting for the season’s nesting sites.
The initial phase of the project was generously funded by Garthgwynion Charities, and received invaluable support from the Machynlleth Rotary club with the use of a telehandler by one of its members. We hope the project will continue to develop and expand to raise awareness of the plight of Swifts and help provision many, many more nesting sites for this amazing species.
Swifts are one of our most charismatic summer visitors, flying thousands of miles from Africa to nest and raise their young in the northern climes of Europe and the UK. There are over 100 species of swift worldwide, occurring on every continent apart from Antarctica. The Common Swift (Gwennol Ddu in Welsh) usually arrives in Britain in late April or early May, and their distinctive screeching is one of the sounds of summer.
Tragically, swift numbers have dropped dramatically in recent years, with a 58% decrease since 1995. In 2021, swifts were added to the UK Red List, meaning they are now classified with the highest level of conservation concern. We could see the disappearance of swifts from Britain in our lifetime, which would be an utter tragedy.
Swifts are affected by climate change, but also a lack of suitable nest sites, with newer buildings leaving no room for them to build their nests. Swift boxes or swift bricks, which have been designed to allow space for them to lay their eggs, are a way of giving them a helping hand.
Thanks to donations and a grant from Garthgwynion Charities, the Dyfi Biosphere Swift Project – with the help of local carpenters Alice Midmore and Simon Simon Layton – has successfully installed 80 swift boxes across the biosphere region. If you would like a swift box installed on your property, or wish to donate or volunteer, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another swift box installed by the team
We will be organising “Swift walks” to monitor the success of our nest boxes, investigate where swifts are already nesting around the area, and to introduce people to these wonderful birds! We hope to run a number of these events through May to July, and so stay tuned for more information and to find out if there is a swift walk in your local area.
Come and join a swift walk on these dates:
During Machynlleth Bioblitz on Friday 24th June, 7-8pm - find us at Gerddi Bro Ddyfi during the Bioblitz
Check out these other sites too:
For more information on Swifts and projects underway to help these birds across the country, visit the Action for Swifts website here.
Action for Swifts Blog
Natur Dyfi Facebook group
Swift page RSPB: