Housebuilder ensures swift service for birds in Buckinghamshire

With swifts back in UK skies this summer, Buckinghamshire homebuilders Barratt and David Wilson Homes are celebrating its achievement of installing 4,000 swift nesting bricks into its homes since 2016.

Swift bricks being implemented ahead of building a house. Copyright 2016 Mike Sewell. Photograph by Mikey Sewell, courtesy Barratt Homes/Unsworth Sugden.

The work is part of the developer’s partnership with the RSPB to help give nature a home by supporting wildlife on new housing developments. Building new homes for swifts is an important goal of this partnership with wildlife across the UK in trouble. The UK’s population of swifts declined 58% between 1995 and 2018, with the birds last year being added to the UK red list of conservation concern.

Swifts are an urban species of bird which use spaces in rooftops or in old buildings to make their nests. The species has seen this serious decline in numbers, in part because modern building methods can eliminate the swifts’ access to rooftops, and old buildings have been demolished over the years, so reducing available nesting sites.

Since 2016, Barratt and David Wilson Homes has been working with the RSPB to install special swift nesting bricks that are added into the external walls of new homes as they are being built.

Having now hit its goal of installing 4,000 swift bricks in to its homes over the past six years, Barratt and David Wilson Homes has announced a new uprated target of 7,000 swift bricks to be installed by the end of 2025.

Every year the swift helps announce the arrival of summer as they complete a 3,400-mile migration to nest and raise their young in the UK. They are the fastest bird in level flight, reaching up to 69mph, and don’t touch the ground for the first three years of their lives. Even after their early years, they only land to breed, continuing to eat, mate, and even sleep in the air.

The RSPB has also partnered with the Swift Local Network and charity, Action for Swifts, to develop Swift Mapper – a web and app-based platform that allows anyone to record swift activity and nesting sites. Records submitted to Swift Mapper help people to learn more about this iconic species and target conservation efforts. Swift Mapper is available for download on the App Store and Google Play Store or can be accessed online at

Ben Kalus, Managing Director at Barratt and David Wilson South Midlands, said: “Swifts are such important birds and we are pleased with the 4,000 swift bricks we have installed so far. But, we have to keep on working hard with the RSPB to give these birds even more homes, which is why we are raising our target by another 3,000 swift nesting bricks, aiming to install some 7,000 in total in our homes across the country by 2025.”

For more information about Barratt Homes or David Wilson Homes, visit the website or call the sales teams on 033 3355 8481 (Barratt Homes) or 033 3355 8486 (David Wilson Homes).