New homes are for the birds

Homes in Sedgemoor is looking forward to welcoming new residents to flats in Bridgwater this Spring following refurbishments. Families of nesting birds will be able to find new homes in their old haunts thanks to the advice of the RSPB.

Work began on the two flat blocks at Mountbatten House and Raleigh House in November. have been given new roofs, replacing the old ones which have been in place for more than 50 years. Loft space has been insulated, and the old wooden fascias, which had rotted and were letting in water, were replaced. There is also new guttering and drainpipes. New railings have been fitted to the rear of the blocks making getting into the flats easier and safer for residents. The cladding on the buildings has been updated. 

Residents and business owners were thanked for their patience while the work was carried out. The balcony above the shops made scaffolding the front of Mountbatten House more complex than on an average building, and to allow popular café Monroe’s to keep their outside eating area open, work did not start above it until the café had closed for the day.

In the process of replacing the roofs and fascias, it was discovered that there were bird nesting sites on the buildings. These were empty when the work was carried out over the winter and would have vanished, leaving domestic and migrating birds with nowhere to live. RSPB’s advice was to fit nesting boxes to the gable walls on the ends of the building, providing nesting spots but reducing the noise of nesting birds to a minimum.  Many birds use roof spaces for nesting, generally doing no harm whilst there. All wild birds and their active nests are protected by law, and it would be a criminal offence to remove or block off an active nest. This is one reason why roofing work on the blocks was scheduled outside the spring and summer months as this is when birds are likely to be nesting. The boxes are likely to be used by house sparrows and starlings, though there are hopes that migrating swifts might take up residence there too. The partnership with the RSPB is an ongoing project which has seen nesting boxes put up across Homes in Sedgemoor’s housing stock.

To find out how to attract Swifts to your garden, visit the RSPB website and search for “Create a high home for swifts”.