Engineers do a super swift job at East Devon school

National Grid engineers have swapped installing cable boxes for nest boxes to help an East Devon school become a summer home for a bird that’s becoming increasingly rare.

National Grid engineers have swapped installing cable boxes for nest boxes to help an East Devon school become a summer home for a bird that’s becoming increasingly rare.

Honiton Primary School now has 10 new boxes to welcome swifts that are arriving from 3,000 miles away in Africa where they have spent the winter.

The boxes were provided by East Devon District Council’s Countryside Team and were installed with advice and guidance from the Swift Local Network for Devon.

Erecting the boxes required equipment that could reach under the roof line of the school building, so the electricity distribution company’s Devon depot were contacted to see if they could help.

A team of engineers were available and soon had the specially designed nesting boxes attached to the walls.

“It was a pleasure to help out,” said Liam Vanstone, National Grid’s local manager, said: “We hope migrating swifts thrive in their new Honiton homes and that they’ll provide a biodiversity boost to the area.”

James Chubb, East Devon District Council’s Countryside Manager, said: “Our Wild Honiton project is the perfect way to help the Swift Local Network for Devon in its work to provide nest sites in the town for these amazing birds. Swifts have declined by 60% in the last 25 years and providing boxes is such a simple way to help address this decline.”

Swifts are in trouble across the UK and each year thousands lose their nesting cavities as older buildings are renovated and new buildings offer them no spaces to nest.

Stuart McFadzean, from the Swift Local Network for Devon, who enlisted National Grid’s help, said: “One of the most effective things we can do to help swifts is give them new places to nest so that new colonies can establish and grow. National Grid's expertise and equipment has been a huge help here to get these new homes for swifts in place at Honiton Primary School and we look forward to these spectacular summer birds swooping over the school for many years to come.”

This project follows last year’s Nature Recovery Declaration by East Devon District Council, and builds upon the Wild Honiton project led by its countryside team, which has already seen bat and bird boxes built and installed across the town.

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