01:35PM, Monday 16 May 2016
A nesting tower is installed in Braywick Park
A boost for wildlife in Maidenhead has been celebrated following the installation of about 200 swift nesting boxes in less than a year, in what is thought to be a UK record.
The work to provide safe places for the birds, whose population has plummeted in past decades, in and around the town hit a peak this week, with the installation on Monday of a nesting tower that can accommodate 20 breeding pairs.
The project, the brainchild of Jan Stannard, founder of the Maidenhead, Marlow and Cookham Swift Group, was a runner-up in this year’s edition of the Royal Borough’s Bright Ideas competition.
The unit, which is believed to be the first of its type in the UK, also features solar powered speakers to attract the birds.
The completion of the scheme follows the unveiling on Friday by Home Secretary and Maidenhead MP Theresa May of 20 individual swift boxes at the Maidenhead Premier Inn, in Kidwells Park Drive, which also feature speakers designed to attract the animals, known as a traction call system.
Speaking at the opening of the ‘swift hotel’, Theresa May said: “It’s a pleasure to come and officially open Premier Inn because it’s such a good addition to Maidenhead.
“And Premier Inn is now bringing something else equally important to the town.
“I did wonder, when I saw the email asking me to open the swift boxes, if they were anything like Amazon boxes and I think it’s the first time in my 20 years in parliament that I have turned on a traction call system – although when I was younger I rather hoped that I was a traction call system.
“It’s been great to hear how quickly it was all done and it’s a great example of just doing it and let’s hope Premier Inn will have some additional clients resting in the nest boxes soon.”
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