Fake swifts to attract real thing to Wiltshire chapel

St Lawrence Chapel in Warminster St Lawrence Chapel in Warminster is hoping the recorded birds will attract real ones

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A Wiltshire chapel is hoping to attract nesting swifts by playing a recording of their calls from the chapel tower.

St Lawrence Chapel in Warminster has been reproducing swift cries from speakers inside the chapel's belfry.

The "swift song" which can be heard from the street is played on a continuous loop throughout the day.

The plan is backed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the Swift Society.

Andrew Folker, chairman of the Friends of St Lawrence, said: "Swifts are in decline and this is an ideal place.

"It's about the right height for them and they don't mind the bells going-off every quarter of an hour."

On the advice of the Swift Society and the RSPB, Mr Folker has set up recording equipment next to two bird boxes in the chapel's tower.

For the last six week he has been playing sounds of swift screams to convince the birds there is already a large swift colony in residence.

"We haven't had any signs of life yet from the swifts but we were told that we'd be unlikely to attract them in the first season," he said.

"I think the congregation must be a bit fed-up with hearing swifts singing through the services.

"But we'll keep playing it continuously all day and hopefully we'll get swifts."

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