UK homeowners urged to create insect-friendly habitats in their gardens to feed endangered birds

UK homeowners urged to create insect-friendly habitats in their gardens to provide food for endangered swifts and house swifts

  • Wildlife campaigners aim to boost UK migratory bird numbers
  • They urge homeowners to create garden habitats to increase insect numbers
  • Experts hope this, along with installing birdhouses, will help swallows and swallows
  • Swifts and house swifts have been added to the UK Red List of Threatened Birds

Homeowners across Britain are being urged to install nesting boxes and create garden habitats for the insects in a bid to increase the numbers of swallows, swifts and martins across the UK.

The aim is to attract more migratory birds each summer after swifts and house swifts were recently added to the UK’s red list of threatened birds.

Experts say they have suffered a severe decline amid a significant drop in insect numbers, habitat loss and extreme weather caused by climate change.

It is estimated that almost 60% of UK swifts have disappeared in the last 25 years.

The new plea for gardeners is part of a joint initiative by the Wildlife Trusts and the Royal Horticultural Society.

Homeowners across Britain are being urged to install nesting boxes and create insect gardening habits in a bid to boost the numbers of swallows (pictured), swifts and swifts across the Kingdom -United.

Tips include creating a bog garden, growing a patch of grass, and installing a speed box.

Tips include creating a bog garden, growing a patch of grass, and installing a speed box.

What should people do to attract more swifts, swallows and swallows?

Create a “bog garden”

Bog gardens provide valuable habitat for frogs, dragonflies and a multitude of insects, as well as materials that swallows and house martens can use to build nests. Use plants like marsh bedstraw and purple loosestrife.

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Putting a swift box on an existing home, or including a swift brick in any type of new construction, will help attract migratory birds. Ideally, swift boxes are oriented north/northeast to help regulate internal temperature and at least five meters above the ground.

Let a patch of grass grow for a long time

This provides vital habitat and food for insects and other wildlife, experts say.

In their new ‘Wild about Highflyers’ campaign, the charities are giving homeowners advice on how to help swallows, swifts and swifts, including creating a bog garden with plants such as marsh bedstraw and purple loosestrife for providing insect habitat and nest building. Equipment.

Simply letting a patch of grass grow provides vital habitat and food for insects, which birds feed on, and other wildlife, the groups said.

Not only that, but homeowners can add a Quick Box to an existing home or include a Quick Brick – which builds nesting accommodation into the walls under the eaves – in a new property, to provide birds with a place to breed. their young.

Experts say fast boxes are best placed facing north/northeast to help regulate internal temperature and located at least 16 feet (5 meters) above the ground.

Dr Rob Stoneman, Director of Landscape Recovery at Wildlife Trusts, said: “Swifts, swallows and martins are some of our most iconic breeding birds.

“Watching and hearing these creatures soar through the sky is an uplifting sight and an experience that leaves you totally in awe of nature.”

“Unfortunately, these birds – like much of our wildlife – have suffered serious declines in recent decades due to habitat loss and a drop in the number of insects, which are affected by pollution, impacts of development and climate change.

Wildlife activists offer advice on how to help swallows, swifts (pictured) and swifts, including creating a bog garden with plants such as marsh bedstraw and purple loosestrife to provide insect habitat and nest building materials

Wildlife activists offer advice on how to help swallows, swifts (pictured) and swifts, including creating a bog garden with plants such as marsh bedstraw and purple loosestrife to provide insect habitat and nest building materials

The aim is to attract more migratory birds each summer after swifts and house swifts (pictured) were recently added to the UK's Red List of Threatened Birds

The aim is to attract more migratory birds each summer after swifts and house swifts (pictured) were recently added to the UK’s Red List of Threatened Birds

He added: “With a little diversity and structure, a garden can become a haven for all kinds of wildlife, providing nesting sites, shelter and food.

“It’s about being creative, ditching all the chemicals and letting things go a little wild.”

Helen Bostock, Senior Wildlife Specialist at RHS, said: “Anyone lucky enough to share their home with swallows, swifts or house swallows will understand how magical these birds are.”

However, she warned the birds were vulnerable, with the number of returns each summer decreasing year on year.

“The UK’s 30 million gardeners have an important role to play in helping to revive their populations – from adapting planting choices to include insect favorites and embracing barren plots in favor of building nests, people can make small-scale changes that will reap big rewards,” the wildlife expert added.

How to Tell the Difference Between a Swift, Swallow, and House Swallow

Swifts, swallows and swifts are often confused, but telling them apart is easier than you might think, according to the RSPB.

Swifts are dark, sooty brown all over, but often appear black against the sky.

The wings are long and narrow, with a slightly forked tail, but not as much as a swallow’s. Swifts have a shrill, shrill cry, but they are not noisy at nest.

Swifts nest in holes – often inside old buildings or sometimes in specially designed nesting boxes for swifts – so you won’t see them building a nest outdoors.

You will see swifts flying low and fast around buildings, calling loudly, or diving quickly through a small crevice in a building to their nests.

The number of Swifts in the UK fell by 57% between 1995 and 2016, according to the RSPB.

Roof renovations and modern building design mean there are now fewer nesting sites for swifts.

Swifts eat airborne insects and these are also much rarer, largely due to changes in farming practices.

Swallows are graceful gliders and have a distinctive long forked tail with tail streamers.

They also have a red throat, white underparts, a bluish sheen on their head and back, and longer wings than martins.

Swallows dart and glide, often low to the ground or at treetop height, and chirp or chirp from perches.

They like barns and other outbuildings with dark nooks and crannies for nesting, and will build a cup-shaped mud nest that is difficult for predators to spot.

House swifts are smaller than swifts or swallows and have pure white undersides.

They also have blue-black upperparts except for the white rump on the back, a forked tail, and shorter wings than swifts or swallows.

House swallows are most active in the morning and evening. They roam about halfway up, usually in groups, descending low above the water and floating in and out of house eaves, chirping softly.

Wetlands are a hot spot as house swallows feed on flying insects such as midges, mayflies, damselflies and dragonflies as they fly over water.

Source: RSPB

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