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
It Yourself The Zeist pattern nest box - well proven - and you can download a plan for cutting 8 boxes from one sheet here
your own nest boxes! Try a design
from the ones below - just click on the Swifts in green squares
Advice on choosing a hole type and size for your D-I-Y Swift nest
The Leuven Pattern D-I-Y Under Eaves Swift nest box - highly successful!
Mark Glanville's D-I-Y twin compartment Swift nest box as seen on
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
Triple Swift nest box with ample roosting space at rear for small
Marcel Jacquat's Simple Swiss-style eaves nest box for deep eaves
Bernard Genton's Swiss-style eaves nest box with Sparrow-exclusion door
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 in the UK - see our
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
- optimum places are under deep eaves, on gables and on high walls in some shade
- not subject to disturbance from window cleaning or maintenance visits
- safe from potential attack by Squirrels, Crows and Magpies i.e. no adjacent perches or creepers
- at least 4.5 metres above ground level
- with uncluttered adjacent airspace for easy flight access
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 unavailable.
Played from within the actual nest space (eaves, boxes, belfry or
tower) it draws the birds in to investigate, and hopefully settle to
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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