THE malls may be empty and only 15 shops are open, but that hasn’t stopped one group of international visitors from heading direct to Crystal Peaks!
The Sheffield shopping centre installed six special nesting boxes for swifts around eight years ago.
But to get the birds to actually nest in the area, centre staff were advised to use a little technological trickery…and now the birds are heading to the site from their African home every spring.
“We first decided to install the boxes after hearing how modern properties offer few opportunities for swifts to build their nests in the traditional ways,” said centre manager Lee Greenwood.
“At first nothing happened so we took some professional advice and were told that the best way to attract the birds would be to actually broadcast their extremely recognisable scream.
“So we’ve rigged up some speakers and have a recording of the distinctive cry that really has done the trick over the past couple of years.”
The swift is an aerial bird that never lands and even sleeps on the wing, nesting only in the time that it is laying its eggs after returning to the north following a winter in Africa.
“This is just one more example of the way in which the Crystal Peaks team takes its commitment to the environment very seriously,” said Lee.
“Our other initiatives include our wildflower meadow – created to attracted bees, butterflies and other insects to the area – and our hedgehog nesting boxes.
“And with fewer human visitors around the site at the moment, the swifts will definitely find it a more peaceful nesting spot that usual.”