CD of bird calls protects swifts
A soundtrack of bird calls has helped protect one of the country's last colonies of swifts during a housing redevelopment.
Special bird boxes have been built into the cavity walls of the new homes in Fulbourn near Cambridge - and a CD playing nesting calls was used to attract birds to their new homes.
The population of swifts, the largest in East Anglia, was identified at prefabricated properties before work began to replace them with modern homes.
Ecologists worked with developer Accent Nene and the community to put measures in place to protect the nesting birds.
The old properties were demolished by construction firm Kier in phases, outside of the bird-nesting season, and ecologists used the CD of nesting calls to make sure the large population of swifts found the boxes on the new properties.
Rob Mungovan, South Cambridgeshire District Council's ecology officer, said: "It was clear that this large colony of swifts had been nesting in the roof spaces of old properties for so long that new boxes needed to be integrated into the roof space of the new homes.
"Using the nesting call of swifts worked brilliantly to attract the birds to the new boxes and it helped them easily adapt to the new surroundings."
Mr Mungovan has now been recognised by the Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management with the prestigious national Tony Bradshaw award for the novel approach.
John Walton, head of development and sales at Accent Nene, said: "Over the course of the project we have worked enthusiastically with our partners to ensure that the swifts carry on nesting in Fulbourn and I'm delighted that the project has been such a success."