Monday 16 April 2012

Box of Swifts - update

Back in June 2011 we described our Box of Swifts for playing calls to attract Swifts into nest-boxes. As a result, we have been somewhat overwhelmed with demand, to the extent we cannot accept any more requests. 

The BoS greatly reduces two sources of hassle:
1. Installing bulky speakers near to a nest-box 5 metres from the ground and supplying mains power to the speaker power supply. The BoS uses a small Car Tweeter with a single piece of low voltage speaker cable to it.
2. An automated system driven by a conventional timer to play calls at chosen times, using a player not designed for this sort of thing. The BoS starts or stops playing when the power is switched on or off, and it comes complete with Swift calls.

So, in order to try to mitigate any disappointment, we suggest here an alternative which is fairly easy to put together yourself. This alternative solves 1, and to some extent 2.

It comprises:
Radioshack amplifier see here (prices seem to vary £10-15) This amplifier has its own speaker, but plugging a tweeter into its output socket switches the amplifier's own speaker off.
Maplins 1.5-inch Car Tweeter (see here) (£10 for 2, so £5 each) (you can drive two speakers in parallel for even more volume or for 2 locations)
Short cable with 2 jacks between player and amplifier (<1£)
Long cable with 1 jack between tweeter and amplifier (~£4)
9 volt power supply (e.g. here) (say £5)
Putting this together yourself is quite straight forward.

To complete this system, you need to provide a player and 240 volt timer switch (or drive it manually). If the player is a solid state mp3 player, then it can be run 24/7 in repeat mode, with the amplifier power supply plugged into the timer. Otherwise, you will need to find a player where holding the play button down enables play/noplay with power on/off. Driving a player with rotating parts 24/7 does not do it much good (personal experience).

Lastly you can download Swift calls from the Dutch Swift Association
It is suggested that you use the .wav versions of

As well as the CD provided by Swift-Conservation

1 comment:

  1. Hi Dick
    Thanks for the above suggestion. I may be trying it if my speakers (14 watts) are not loud enough when played from my loft space. I'm also keen to get the calls from the Dutch website to complement Edward's CD, but I'm afraid your link does not work. Please can you post a new one?
    Many thanks