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2020 / 2021 Edition

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CEMEX provide new home for returning swifts

CEMEX's swift tower

Company helps give nature a home by erecting a ‘swift tower’ at an asphalt facility in Manchester

A NEW home for swifts – a swift tower – has been erected at CEMEX’s Hope Street asphalt plant in Manchester, in a bid to encourage the migratory birds to come and nest. Over the coming weeks, swifts will be returning to towns and cities across the UK providing what is a quintessential sign of the British summer.

For many people, swifts are the perfect house guest – they are only in the UK for three months of the year, make no mess when nesting and help get rid of flying insects and mosquitoes – but, sadly, their numbers have been in rapid decline, due in part, it is thought, to a lack of suitable homes in urban environments.

The new swift tower at the asphalt plant could help provide a home for up to 12 swifts. Standing approximately 2.5m high and situated close to the weighbridge, the new tower incorporates a ‘caller’ – a pre-recorded sound of a swift’s call that plays at dusk and dawn to encourage new occupants to move in.

‘I’m sure our new tower will be a great home for any swifts coming to Manchester, and hopefully over the coming years they will make our plant their UK destination,’ commented Hope Street plant manager Phil Repton.

‘There’s nothing like seeing and hearing swifts soar over the rooftops on a summer’s evening. They are amazing birds and one of the fastest-flying birds in the world.’

CEMEX are working in partnership with the RSPB to increase the biodiversity of its 400-plus sites. The introduction of the swift tower is one of the measures to help give nature a home.

Rebecca Pitman, the RSPB’s Swift Cities project officer, said: ‘The swift is truly an urban bird but sadly their numbers declined by an alarming 47% between 1995 and 2014. They are now an amber-listed species on the list of Birds of Conservation Concern.

‘When they arrive back in the UK from Africa, they return to the exact same location year after year. Swifts like to nest in the rooftops of old buildings but developments and renovations often destroy suitable sites. The new CEMEX tower will offer this great bird a great home.’

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