Friday 26 July 2013

Micklemere Nature Reserve Swift Tower

Swift towers are becoming more popular, even though, as a concept, it remains to be proved how effective they are. In order to keep costs down, the well proven design of a Barn Owl A-frame box was adapted to contain 11 nest-boxes, 7 entrances in the front and another 4 in the lower sides.

Final assembly of the tower on its pole
The Micklemere Swift tower is made of 15mm marine plywood, with an additional roof made of well-treated feather board. The double roof is designed to protect the nest-boxes from the weather, both rain and sun.

The box was mounted on a substantial 8 metre telegraph pole, 1.5 metres of which was in the ground.

Heavy lifting gear is used to lift the pole
Micklemere Nature Reserve is run by Suffolk Wildlife Trust which is one of a number of reserves managed by Will Cranstoun.

Will is blessed with a team of keen and competent volunteers who did a great job making the tower, and then helping to get it erected.

The trust already had a stock of suitable timber, as well as a spare telegraph pole, so this kept costs down.

The tower is up. Photo Judith Wakelam
Micklemere also has a number of generous donors and sponsors who provided funds, most of which was required for the sound system, which will need to be played in the coming years to attract Swifts into the boxes.

The sound system is based upon the Cheng Sheng player amplifier, 12 volt battery and solar panel charger. [described here and here].

It may be necessary to keep this going from May to July, through daylight hours, for a number of years to be sure of attracting Swifts into the tower.
This is a great example of a larger organisation, the Suffolk Wildlife Trust, getting behind the project, competent management on the ground, and a team of willing and able volunteers to make it happen.

Photo Judith Wakelam

Design model for Micklemere tower

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