Engineers from the National Grid have swapped installing cable boxes for nest boxes to help an East Devon school become a summer home for a bird that’s becoming increasingly rare.

Honiton Primary School now has 10 new boxes, which have been provided by East Devon District Council’s countryside team.

The boxes await the arrival of the swifts, who have travelled 3,000 miles from Africa where they hibernate.

National Grid teams from Devon rallied their equipment to erect the nesting boxes under the school's roofing.

In action: the National Grid helps install nest boxes at an East Devon school In action: The National Grid helps install nest boxes at an East Devon school (Image: National Grid)

Liam Vanstone, National Grid’s local manager, said: "It was a pleasure to help out.

"We hope migrating swifts thrive in their new Honiton homes and that they’ll provide a biodiversity boost to the area."

This project is part of efforts by the Swift Local Network for Devon, who offered guidance and advice during the installation of the nest boxes.

James Chubb, East Devon District Council’s countryside manager, said: "Our Wild Honiton project is the perfect way to help the Swift Local Network for Devon in its work to provide nest sites in the town for these amazing birds.

"Swifts have declined by 60 per cent in the last 25 years and providing boxes is such a simple way to help address this decline."

Swifts, facing a crisis in the UK, are continually losing their nesting cavities due to renovations of older buildings and new constructions offering no spaces for them to nest.

Stuart McFadzean, representative of Swift Local Network for Devon, said, "One of the most effective things we can do to help swifts is give them new places to nest so that new colonies can establish and grow.

"National Grid's expertise and equipment has been a huge help here to get these new homes for swifts in place at Honiton Primary School and we look forward to these spectacular summer birds swooping over the school for many years to come."

This project follows last year’s Nature Recovery Declaration by the East Devon District Council, and it builds upon the Wild Honiton project, led by its countryside team, which has already established bat and bird boxes throughout the town.