Important new knowledge about Swifts is being learnt from these colonies
- you too can build one!
Kaiser's gable colony in Kronberg, near
Frankfurt. About 90 Swifts nest every
year in this house, all in man-made
nest places, like the one on the right. As
local roofs are replaced the area's
birds are increasingly reliant on this
one house to breed in.
Swift broods its eggs in a gable nest
box. Note the entrance hole cut with
a diamond drill; only the outermost
part is of narrow diameter to keep out
Starlings and Sparrows. Photographs © Erich
Swift enthusiasts like Jan Holmgren in Sweden, Erich Kaiser and
August Atzert in Germany, and Graham Roberts in Portsmouth, have
established large Swift colonies in
the gables of their homes. If you have a non-load-bearing gable (if load-bearing, you need a surveyor's advice before you start) you should be able to
make access holes and install the wooden boxes and their supports. Take good care to keep your house weatherproof.
A typical scheme is illustrated below. The Swifts
need privacy, adequate space, good ventilation and peace and quiet. Old wooden fruit
boxes can be converted into nest boxes, rather than using new plywood.
Colonies provide excellent opportunities for observation, and
contribute greatly to our knowledge of Swifts. Your
colony can provide new knowledge, hours of satisfaction, and of course, homes for lots more Swifts!
- A Swift leaves its nest at speed to
collect more food for its chicks. Swifts
are discreet at the nest, moving fast,
they minimise their exposure to predators
like falcons and crows. Above - two
Swift chicks in their nest box. They
will be off to Africa within two weeks.
Photographs © Erich
Kaiser & Ulrich Tigges
For further information contact
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Swift Nest Places
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