March 17th, 2010
The RSPB is gathering extensive information about exactly where swifts are nesting in the UK. It is suspected that their rapid decline in recent years is linked with a drop in suitable nesting sites, as buildings are modernised.
The first year’s survey reveals that of the houses where swifts are nesting:
- Over half (51%) were built before 1919
- Exactly a quarter were built between 1919-1944
- Over half (52%)had been known swift nesting sites for more than 10 years
- Almost a fifth (16%) were considered threatened
- Almost 5% of swifts were recorded in churches
The data will be used to make sure that exhilarating displays of screaming swifts continue being part of British summers.
September 14th, 2009
A strange white cube stands among the lagoons and trees in the London Wetland Centre at Barnes. It’s the result of an international design competition, won by two architecture students, Jorgen Tandberg from Oslo and Yo Murata from Tokyo. As well as stylish, it’s highly practical from a bat’s point of view. The internal layers of wood sheets offer cosy roosting sites suitable for a variety of species: eight of Britain’s 17 native bat species have been recorded in the reserve. The material is Hemcrete – a mixture of hemp and lime that’s breathable and absorbs CO2. It’s hoped that the box will be an inspiration for architects, showing that art and consideration for nature can go together. The inauguration of the bat house will celebrate the centenary of the birth of naturalist and wildlife artist Sir Peter Scott.