Project Title : Conservation of House Swifts (Apus nipalensis) in Hong Kong: Preliminary Field Trial of Artificial Nest Box for Breeding House Swifts

Applicant : Tai Po Environmental Association

Total Approved Grant : $140,979.90

Duration : February 2004 - October 2006

Project Status/Remarks : Completed

Scope : The project aims to study the utilization of artificial nest box for House Swifts in Hong Kong. As the availability of nesting habitat for House Swift is reducing, the deployment of artificial nest box for swift is a conservation measure. The project will also compare the breeding progress and success of House Swifts in natural and artificial nests. 200 copies of manuals will be produced for distribution to the government departments, local environmental groups, developers, education sectors and local communities. Two demonstration tours will also be organized.

Summary of findings : Five study areas have been selected for monitoring swifts’ utilization of nest boxes. During the reporting period from the first (2004) to second year (2005), actual utilization of artificial nest box by swifts had not been observed. The monitoring programme had been re-commenced in the third breeding season from March to September 2006. During the final monitoring programme of this project, utilization of nest boxes was observed.

Artificial nest boxes in the Chinese University of Hong Kong and sites of Tai Po Market were removed as per premises owners' request. There is positive swifts occupancy at Yuen Long, therefore these boxes are proved to be successfully attracting swifts. During the final year of monitoring programme, swifts have been observed to utilize the nest boxes as recessing place in the location of Yuen Long town (please see Appendix 5 for photos f to h). No breeding behaviour has been seen during the period. It is suspected that it took time for the odour or smell of the boxes to disperse and swifts were eventually adapted to utilizing them as recessing place in off-breeding season.

Two demonstration trips were conducted to show utilization of artificial nest boxes by swifts. The experience of the production, installation of the boxes and technique of post-installing monitor were highlighted in the trips. A manual was produced and delivered to the participants during the trips.