Fitting Swift Nest-places
is the best way to
create new nest places for Swifts, ensuring longevity, safety and
minimal maintenance needs.
There is a huge variety of ways to
do this, from installing commercial "Swift Bricks" in
blockwork walls, to making dedicated box eaves,
to ingeniously creating
holes in suitable walls. See the pages below for some ideas.
Swift Brick under the eaves at Horsham Library, West Sussex,
a built-in Swift box being installed inside a building in
Haarlem, Holland, and the entrance holes to a built-in Swift colony in
Kronberg, near Frankfurt. These are simple low-cost ways to provide permanent Swift
nest places inside the walls of buildings. Photos © Graham Roberts,
& Erich Kaiser
Nest Places inside Eaves - install in both existing and new buildings
Nest Places in Pantile Roofs - new or existing
Places in Solid Walls - stone, rock, concrete and rubble core
Places in Cavity Walls - new build, or re-built
Internal Nest Trays for use behind louvres or openings in towers, spires, high
walls and cupolas
Gable Colonies - make a colony box and set it up behind a gable
Colonies - create a colony on top of an existing tower or design
Ready-made Commercial Swift nest boxes
- there's a wide variety of designs to suit most
both internal and external. There should
be a nestbox suitable for your site.
Click on the Swift to visit
our Shopping! page and select nest boxes
Swift Nestboxes at
Islington Council Offices, London, and on a private
house near Antrim. Right, Swift chicks
inside a nestbox at the Cathedral in Alcudia, Valencia, Spain. This
simple way to provide Swifts with
nest places on existing buildings. The boxes are bolted to a suitable strong
surface high up in locations where the birds
won't be disturbed. Photos © E
Mayer & J Sanz
your own nest boxes! Try a design
from the ones below - just click on the Swifts
Advice on choosing a hole type and size for your D-I-Y Swift nest
D-I-Y easy to build Swift nesting box with extra
Bat roosting space
& Simple single nest place under-eaves or wall-mounted box - ideal for home use
These D-I-Y Plans are PDF files and need the Adobe® Reader™ to open.
Download it here
advice, or a bespoke box design? contact
nestboxes at Bradford on Avon in Wiltshire, where
wildlife artist Jonathan Pomroy created his
own Swift colony
Photographs © Jonathan
Commercial & DIY Swift
The concrete types are made by Schwegler and sold by
Jacobi Jayne in the UK - see "Shopping!" They can be used in
walls, on vertical surfaces and under eaves.
The wooden types are hand made from 12mm
exterior quality plywood,
to suit particular applications in and under a wide variety of
eaves and roofs. Photo © G
Where to fit Swift Nest Places
- out of direct sunlight, under deep eaves or on walls that do not receive much sun
- in undisturbed areas
- away from potential attack by Squirrels
- at least 5 metres above ground level
- with uncluttered adjacent airspace
Attracting Swifts using
the Swift Calls CD
Order a Swift
Calls CD- see our Shopping Page
There have been exciting developments in encouraging Swifts to find and occupy nest spaces. Installing loudspeakers and playing a Swift calls CD from
the eaves or nest space, sufficiently loud for the birds to hear as they fly overhead when they arrive in May, can be very successful.
Read the views of one successful user below -
"I have been able to attract swifts from a half mile away
and more. I conducted a simple experiment using my wife and son
and mobile phones. One was positioned at the house,
other a quarter of a mile away, and myself a half mile away.
It's almost a straight line from my house to the centre of the village.
A phone call from myself and and the CD was switched on at my house at full volume,
I could hear it in the village. Swifts began to move towards my
house and I could observe them through my binoculars, when they passed my wife she rang me, and when they arrived at the house my son rang me.
I have 24 potential nesting sites and often have as many as ten speakers playing at once,
positioned at ten boxes.
As I now have a colony established there are now
many visits from Swift "prospectors" coming by themselves to investigate."
Equipment needed - CD player, an
amplifier, a couple of small loudspeakers, and a Swift Calls CD (available from Swift
Conservation - see our Shopping page via the link above). A power supply will be needed for the CD player
and amplifier. Other types of audio equipment may be
suitable. NB This work should only be done outside the Swifts' breeding season. The birds must never be
disturbed at the nest.
The Swift Calls CD consists of about
60 minutes of the calls of birds advertising they have a nest space, and also calling to their mates from within the nest. It
is an incentive to Swifts searching for a nest, something that occurs whenever new birds return to breed or older birds find their former nest sites
Played from within the actual nest space (eaves, boxes, belfry or tower) it draws the birds in to investigate, and hopefully settle to breed.
advice on obtaining and setting up suitable
sound systems please contact Dick
via this link
& legal aspects
Keep yourself, others and the Swifts safe! Before making, siting, maintaining or checking Swift nest-boxes ensure you have taken all
precautions to avoid accidents to yourself and others, and to prevent any disturbance to the birds.
When using tools and access equipment observe all
When making and fitting nest-boxes ensure that your working site, methods, and means of access are safe.
Ensure the boxes are fixed
soundly to resist severe weather and any other risks.
Ensure predators, (squirrels, rats, cats, rats, magpies, and crows), cannot gain access.
great care when accessing lofts and other potentially hazardous areas.
Electrical work should only be performed by
competent qualified persons.
All manufacturers' instructions should be carefully studied and observed.
Building Regulations etc. You will need to satisfy yourself before installation that the relevant Building Regulations, Bye-laws, Planning Laws and Listed
Building Consents etc. are being observed, that your site is suitable, and installation will not adversely affect the building. We believe that with some
imagination and ingenuity, Swifts can usually be accommodated without difficulty.
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