Swifts are renowned as magnificent flyers, living almost entirely on the wing and covering monumental distances as they make their way between Africa and their breeding grounds here in the UK. As Ted Hughes so beautifully described in his poem, "The Swifts" the arrival from Africa of these tiny birds in early May and their low-level acrobatics in the early evening make these long distance travellers synonymous with the start of English summertime.
Sadly though, Swift numbers are in sharp decline with the annual Breeding Birds Survey revealing that almost half the country's Swift population has been lost over the last 25 years, in Suffolk the Swift is recognised as a Priority Species due to this decline.
Eddie Bathgate, a keen birdwatcher who has worked for Hopkins Homes for over 15 years became aware of the campaign through his involvement in the Suffolk Ornithologists' Club's Save our Suffolk Swifts Campaign, which they are running jointly with Suffolk Wildlife Trust.
A number of specially designed 'Manthorpe' Swift nest bricks are now being placed high in the fascias of selected new homes at Prospect Place in Framlingham, where Eddie is currently site manager. The bricks offer an intergral nest space and are designed to blend unobtrusively into the surrounding masonry.
Edward Jackson, Secretary and Council member of the Suffolk Ornithologists' Group said: "We're delighted that Hopkins Homes has agreed to incorporate Swift bricks into some of the new properties at Framlingham. We know that there is a Swift colony which returns to Framlingham to breed each year so are hopeful that some of these remarkable birds might make their new home in Prospect Place! It is great that Hopkins Homes is taking such a positive step in helping these birds and I hope that other homebuilders will follow their lead."
Simon Bryan, Development Director at Hopkins Homes said: "At Hopkins Homes we pride ourselves on enhancing the communities and areas that our homes are a part of and we hope tht the new Swift bricks will help support this symbol of summer."