This week, as we look forward to the return of swifts, as part of their annual spring migration, Parkdean Resorts, the UK’s largest holiday park operator, in partnership with Swift Holiday Homes & Lodges, and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), will open their new, specially designed homes to provide shelter for the birds during the breeding season.
Swifts are an endangered species, in part due to a loss of nesting sites and habitats, and the purpose-built lodges will provide a temporary, ‘holiday home’ for the birds as they return to nest in the UK.
Swifts are migratory birds, and much of their time is spent on the wing, flying between the UK and their wintering grounds in Africa, for example. When they return to the UK, they’re looking for nooks and crannies, traditionally found in old buildings, in which to build their nests.
The installation of holiday homes for swifts at four Parkdean Resort locations this year marks the beginning of a long-term initiative with the RSPB to establish whether the sites are a viable option for the birds.
“We provide cosy, holiday homes in attractive holiday parks for everyone – and this summer, that includes swifts”, explains Steve Richards, CEO, Parkdean Resorts.
“It may take a little time, as swifts mate for life and every year return to the same nesting places but in consultation with the RSPB, we think the homes built by Swift and the carefully selected sites, will help to meet the needs of these birds on our parks, by providing them with a sustainable alternative summer home for many years.”
The holiday homes for swifts are designed and built by Swift Holiday Homes & Lodges, the UK’s largest manufacturer of touring caravan, motorhomes and holiday homes and have been designed to meet the specific needs of the birds. For example, the siting of their homes under eaves, in a shaded area, five metres off the ground and with a clear flight path. The RSPB consulted on the design and construction of the swift holiday homes, advising on the use and inclusion of specific details to support the long-term initiative, such as the addition of a nest form to increase the uptake rate of boxes by swifts.
“The Swift Nest Project is just one initiative within Parkdean’s wider work to care for its parks, people and planet, and our ongoing commitment to create space for nature”, continued Richards.
“By creating and conserving the habitats wildlife live in, within the stunning locations of our parks, we can make sure nature thrives for our holidaymakers, owners, and indeed, our flying friends, the swifts.”
Guy Anderson, Migrants Recovery Programme Manager, RSPB added: “Swifts are extraordinary birds and we need to do all we can to help protect them, as their numbers have fallen dramatically in recent years. Refurbishment of older buildings and modern ways of construction means there are far fewer natural spaces for these birds to nest. They spend most of their lives on the wing, eating, sleeping, and mating in flight and so when they do land, it’s imperative that they can find a nest and get comfortable, ready to welcome a new family.”
“We’re delighted that Parkdean Resorts and Swift Holiday Homes & Lodges have collaborated on this project, we love the new holiday homes for swifts and will be working closely with the Parkdean teams who will be monitoring the boxes and reporting back what happens in the coming months.”
You can read more on how we're continuing to care for our parks, people and planet here.