Monday 18 April 2011

A Swift Tower is Created

When we received pictures from Edward Mayer of a Swift Tower erected in Andover, based on some concepts that have been displayed on Edward's website that we had put together some time ago, we felt extremely gratified, and indeed proud, that someone had gone to the trouble of realising our dreams. As a result we invited Terry Verney to give us an account of what he and his team had been up to:

"Back in the autumn of 2010 the chief executive of the Hawk Conservancy Trust asked me to think Swift Towers. Not wishing to appear ignorant of the subject I did some research on the internet having been given the website I was hoping to find drawings giving sizes of the tower but was disappointed to find a concept drawing only. Reading further on I found the recommended size of a nest chamber and the entrance hole size.

From this basic information and Dick Newell's concept picture I prepared working drawings and was then given permission to go ahead and order materials and start production.

Working in a brand new workshop at the Trust which is normally used for building nestboxes for Little Owls, Tawny Owls, Barn Owls and Kestrels one tower has been completed and installed on a pole approximately seven metres high with a second tower nearing completion.

The tower has thirty nest chambers each having a 200mm x 100mm access door for monitoring the progress of any chicks that hatch. The lowest level has 4 chambers the middle level has eight chambers with the top level having twelve chambers. A further six chambers are located in the roof space. To make the tower more aesthically pleasing to the public it was finished off with a western red cedar shingle roof. The pitch of the roof being 34 degrees.

This prototype tower has been built using 12.5mm thick exterior grade plywood which proved to be rather heavy. Further research is now underway to find alternative materials that could be used in an external environment with a view to making the whole structure lighter.

For a volunteer working at the Hawk Conservancy Trust this swift tower project has been a challenge but at the same time very satisfying knowing that we at the Trust are helping to save such a beautiful bird.

Conservation is ongoing at the Trust helping vultures in Africa and closer to home bumble bee conservation. A scheme which I’m involved in is to help four of our native raptors for which I build nestboxes.

Terry Verney"


  1. Well done keep up the good work.

  2. Brilliant to see people kindly helping these amazing birds