It has long scythe-like wings, a short forked tail and is a regular summer visitor to our region.

Eastern Daily Press: Flag Force member Robin TwiggeFlag Force member Robin Twigge (Image: Archant)

A territorial nester, it attempts to return to the same site each spring.

Now a market town renowned for its swifts is ensuring nest sites are maintained as it replaces the roof on its leisure centre.

Earlier this year, work on Harleston Leisure Centre was halted when two nest sites were discovered under the old tiles.

As part of Redenhall with Harleston Town Council's view on conservation, a pair of special box tiles have been installed in the roof in the same location of the nests to encourage birds to return next year.

Alongside the tiles, four swift boxes have been placed in the eaves of the building.

Chairman of the council, Barry Woods, said: 'We have created an area for them to nest in as close to their original nests as possible. We are keen to be environmentally friendly.'

The council is also in the process of installing a conservation garden next to the centre.

In May this year flags were put up around the town to celebrate the swift's annual return and to draw attention to the need for new nesting points in the area.

Each year there are fewer nest places for swifts as roofs on buildings are upgraded and their nesting sites in the eaves lost.

It is estimated that swifts can fly up to 500 miles every day and as far as 1.2 million miles in their lifetime.

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