Machynlleth nest box project is helping beloved swifts return

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A project to bring more swifts to Mid Wales by installing bird feeders at Machynlleth was considered a great success.

In January 20222 work began to install 50 nest boxes around Machynlleth as part of a nature initiative called the Swift Nest Box Project to attract more ‘charismatic bird species’ to the area.

The project was originally conceived by the Dyfi Biodiversity Machynlleth Climate Action Group with the aim of building 50 boxes for the city by spring.

Five months later, the project has installed 80 nest boxes in the Dyfi biosphere.

Project manager Ben Porter said: “There has been a huge decline in swifts over the last 10 to 20 years. Machynlleth is a great place for swifts because of the tall buildings, and we already have a population.

“To go into town in spring and see swifts flying around a town, they’re one of the coolest birds.

“They are such a charismatic species, they spend most of their lives on the wing, land and then return to Africa for the winter.

“By setting up crates, it’s easy to give swifts more space.”

Inspiration for the project came after a Machynlleth City Council declared a climate emergency in 2018 and looked for ways to increase the biodiversity of the area.

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After consulting residents via the Dyfi Natur Facebook page and asking if anyone would be interested in having a Swift box on their home or property, the positive response got the initiative off the ground.

With the support of local nature enthusiasts, carpenters from Machynlleth Town Council, the Machynlleth Rotary Club and funding from Garthgwynion Charities, the project exceeded its goal of 50 boxes.

The initiative also received help from Garth Holiday Park’s Edward Rhodes, who volunteered his time using a telescopic handler to reach the taller buildings.

Mr Porter added: “When the long-awaited swifts arrive back in the valley, the Dyfi Biosphere Swift Project will organize a series of swift migrations between May and July to study where swifts are already nesting in the area and to introduce people to these wonderful birds.”

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