Innovative Project Could Help Birds Make a Comeback

Providing assistance to Britain's birds.

(Dilomski /

The swift is a bird known for its endurance and for being an indicator of the general health of biodiversity. Now, various British brick producers are finding a creative and innovative way to help fill Britain’s skies with swifts once more, the Guardian reports. 

Poster children of biodiversity
Every year thousands upon thousands of swifts make their way from Africa to Britain to nest. These amazing little birds spend ten months of the year entirely airborne. They eat, sleep, bathe, and drink without touching a foot on the ground. They only land to breed and raise their chicks, and return to the same nesting spot every year to do so. However, according to The Cool Down, the number of swifts has dropped by 60 percent since 1995. 

The cause, according to the Guardian, is not just declining insect numbers, but also a decline in suitable nesting locations. Hanna Bourne-Taylor, an activist who started a petition to make swift bricks mandatory, told the Guardian, “Swifts are our closest wild neighbours and the poster children of biodiversity. If they lose, we lose.” 

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Multiple options
Luckily for British bird lovers, there are a myriad of companies creating swift bricks to choose from. A Royal Society for the Protection of Birds report lists at least 12 different companies that make a variety of swift bricks. According to the Guardian, a swift brick is simply a hollowed out brick with a space for swifts to build their nests in. These bricks can be inserted into walls during new construction or intense renovations. 

However, designing these bricks is not as simple as it may seem. One company, Ibstock, had to redesign their brick when it became clear that builders were installing them upside down, causing the swift chicks to slide out of their nests.

Yet another brick company, Manthorpe, has partnered with the RSPB to create a somewhat luxury swift brick, with a grippy substance on the landing tunnel, which makes it easier for the swifts to land, a concave dish in the internal part of the brick, to make nest building easier, and internal channels for drainage. In addition, these bricks are literally a snap to put together, and can be produced in under a minute.

Though there is not yet any legislation mandating swift bricks, their demand is on the rise. According to The Cool Down, Manthorpe has already produced 20,000 bricks, and counting.

Whether or not building with swift bricks becomes mandated in Britain, or not, it is still cheering to see how many people are invested in helping these awe inspiring birds fill the skies once more

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