We completed External Wall Insulation (EWI) works to one hundred properties in Mickley, helping make homes much more energy efficient, which in turn reduced carbon emissions. The homes also got a fantastic face lift, which vastly improved the overall look and feel of the area.
Derbyshire Wildlife Trust contacted us to alert us to the presence of a vibrant colony of swifts in the village. We worked with our contractors during the EWI works, to ensure that the works help to protect the colony. Improvement works to houses can sometimes block up nesting holes. We took advice from Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and purchased specially designed swift boxes to go on the eaves of any house we knew had swifts nesting in them. A local resident and swift enthusiast had done a detailed survey and knew all the addresses where the birds had been nesting so this information was really useful. We also offered additional boxes to anybody in the village who wanted one. Fifty swift boxes (including twenty double boxes) were purchased from Peak Boxes, a local business in the nearby Derbyshire village of Hathersage.
Swifts are remarkable birds, which are in serious decline in the UK with numbers having reduced by 50% in the last 20 years. Swifts spend almost all of their lives on the wing; eating, mating and even sleeping whilst in the air. Each year they complete an epic migration, travelling thousands of miles to visit central Africa during the winter, arriving back in the UK in May to nest and rear their young.
We gave five of the swift boxes to Mickley Infants School, who painted them the colours of the flags of some of the countries the swifts fly through during their migration. SBS then placed those boxes onto the school, creating further additional habitats for the birds. The school have worked the birds into their curriculum, with a dedicated guest lesson from Louise Bentley from Bolton and Bury Swifts, delivered for the school via Zoom. Sara Street, Head Teacher at the school said “The children have enjoyed painting the boxes in the colours of the flags. The children also enjoyed the talk about swifts from 'Superswifts' and are learning more about the birds through this project.”
We hope that this will foster a keen appreciation of the birds and wildlife conservation for the next generation. Thanks to the replacement of the habitat, along with the extra boxes, the children will continue to see these amazing birds in Mickley for many years to come.