Bird Breeding Boxes and Premier Inn
When you think about it, the that you put up in your garden are like hotel rooms for wild birds! Perhaps it was this thought which inspired a recent installation at Maidenhead’s Premier Inn.
New Nesting Boxes at the Premier Inn
This month 20 swift bird breeding boxes were built into the roof overhang void of the hotel. These were accompanied by a sound system which attracts the birds to the site. The swift hotel is a significant feature of a project which was runner up in the Royal Borough’s Bright Ideas competition. It was proposed by Jan Stannard, founder of the Maidenhead, Marlow and Cookham Swift Association.
Declining Swift Population
Stannard wanted to create an initiative which would see swift bird breeding boxes installed across the area. The number of swifts in the UK has fallen dramatically in recent years. Indeed, the population has been reduced by 50% in just two decades. Swifts fly north from Africa to breed and require suitable nesting sites. The new bird breeding boxes in Maidenhead were made by volunteers from the Bisham Barn Owl Group and provide a fabulous hotel for visiting swifts. The boxes were unveiled, or perhaps we should say officially opened, by the Home Secretary Teresa May.
Swift Bird Breeding Boxes
This isn’t the first time that Premier Inn have installed hotel rooms for swifts. In 2013 Exeter’s Premier Inn had 21 swift nesting boxes built into the fabric of the hotel. Owner’s Whitbread sought advice from the RSPB before installing the boxes to ensure that they offered the best possible breeding sites for the birds. Further boxes were then installed at Premier Inns in Exmouth and Portsmouth.
The Nesting Tower
Jan Stannard’s initiative in Maidenhead has seen an impressive 200 swift nesting box installed in under a year. This could be a UK record. The new breeding boxes include a nesting tower which is now a feature at Braywick Park. The tower is the first of its type in this country and can accommodate 20 breeding pairs. Now that is some bird breeding box!
Swifts really need our help. These small birds travel thousands of miles every year to find a place to breed. The diminutive migratory birds can travel up to 4 million miles in their lifetime and it has become increasingly difficult for them to find suitable sites in which to nest.
It is encouraging to see that local initiatives can make such a big impact and so quickly. The 200 swift nesting boxes could make a significant difference and if this project was replicated around the country there could be a dramatic increase in the number of swifts successfully nesting in the UK.