Thursday 30 March 2023

‘Swift’ work by UCLan volunteers saves birds

A quartet of technicians create nesting kits for RSPB

Birds in a Lancashire city will have a comfortable place to nest thanks to a quartet of volunteers from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

Technicians Jonathan Meadowcroft, Hannah Hopkins, Dave Thornton and Sam Worgan have utilised their wood cutting skills to create swift box kits for the Royal Society of the Protection of Birds (RSPB).

The quartet has spent their lunch breaks creating all the necessary parts for the nest boxes, which will help to create a new ‘Swift Street’ in Lancaster.

Jonathan, who is a technician within UCLan’s School of Engineering, said: “I was approached by someone from the RSPB to see if I could help out. I mentioned this to Hannah, Dave and Sam and they were more than happy to help out with this RSPB project.

“By using the table saws and specialist woodwork machines we’ve got in Wharf Building, it was a simple thing we could do in our own time over a few lunchtimes to cut out all the bits required for 32 kits.

"I mentioned this to Hannah, Dave and Sam and they were more than happy to help out with this RSPB project"

UCLan technician Jonathan Meadowcroft

“We feel it’s our small way of helping our local wildlife and we’d be more than happy to make more and get our students involved.”

The swift nest boxes fit directly beneath the eaves of a property and their sloping roofs improve durability and make it hard for predators to perch on them.

Alasdair McKee, from the Engagement department at the RSPB, said: “We are so grateful for the fantastic help that Jonathan and the UCLan team have given us.

“Swifts are amazing birds that can fly at 70mph and stay in the air non-stop for 10 months, even sleeping on the wing. In the last 15 years their numbers have dropped by almost 60%, largely because their traditional nest sites in the eaves of houses have been closed off with plastic soffits.

“These nest boxes will provide them with new spaces in which to nest and help them to recover.”

* L-r UCLan technicians Hannah Hopkins and Sam Worgan, RSPB’s Alasdair McKee, UCLan’s Jonathan Meadowcroft, Lancaster Swift Group’s Mark Edwards, and UCLan’s Dave Thornton.

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