Nest Places in Solid Walls

Ideally, all new nest-places should be installed out of direct sun. Where nest-places within direct sun are being replaced, care should be taken to respect the original dimensions, as these (for example the depth inside the wall) may have kept the site cool enough to permit successful breeding.

N.B. Before any of these methods are used construction strength considerations must be investigated and satisfied by professionals .

Using polystyrene plugs to create nest cavities

Method: The existing wall is built of stone, rubble and mortar. Repair will usually involve removing the surface plaster, raking out any loose rubble and mortar, perhaps partly demolishing the wall if areas have failed, and reserving the stones for replacement during the repair. It may be possible to insert polystyrene "bottles", plugs of a minimum size 30 to 40cm long x 15cm wide, with a tapering end of 5 to 6cm round, under stones in the wall during repair. The stones should be adequate to offer sufficient structural support to ensure the wall is sound. The base of the plugs should be tilted very slightly towards the entrance to provide rainwater and condensation drainage. These plugs are cemented in fully, just as the stones are. When the mortar is dry and the wall has been re-pointed or re-plastered, the polystyrene plugs are cut out with a drill, and the Swift nest holes are ready for use the next summer.

Using terracotta or plastic pipes to create nest places

The wall is typically built of stones, rubble and mortar, or reinforced concrete, perhaps finished with a coat of mortar on the facade. Drilling out spaces and inserting the 15cm wide (or wider) terracotta or plastic pipes, then cementing them in with mortar, should provide a simple and visually acceptable result. The pipes may be inserted in lines to create a pattern.

Method: Ensure the wall is strong enough to support the use of these pipes without failure. Insert short lengths (30 to 50cm) of terracotta pipe 15cm wide or wider into the walls being repaired, between the stones or rubble, raking out sufficient space as necessary. The pipes should be well cemented in. The pipes should be used in shaded areas only, and should be installed at a slight rising angle (5) to drain out any rainwater that may be driven in by the wind.

Making a nest space behind stone or brick facings

Method: This method may be used on walls with stone or fine brick facings. A hole is excavated in the wall behind the facings,and either left as it is or else a Swift Brick is inserted in it. Then the facing material is replaced and a small 5 to 6cm hole is cut in it with a diamond core drill, in line with the entrance hole in the Swift Brick (if used), and the facing replaced. The nest bricks or places may be installed in lines to create a pattern.

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