UPDATE 2016: 5 pairs bred this year.
We reported previously on our inspection of the first 10 boxes installed by Bill Murrells at Ely Maltings, Cambridgeshire, where Swifts once bred on top of the wall under the eaves, then nest-boxes were installed as compensation for the loss of nest sites when the building was renovated. Although only one pair of swifts has occupied the nest boxes so far, we have now added 10 more boxes, together with an attraction call player with speakers. The team this time included Bob Tonks, Jake Allsop and Bill Murrells.
Written by Dick
Ely Maltings is an attractive Victorian building not far from Ely city centre. It is used for events, such as weddings, concerts and film shows. In the summertime, there is a bar and restaurant, where people can sit out and enjoy the riverside setting. All that is now needed is a vibrant Swift colony, but it is essential that nothing is done to compromise the appearance of the building.
This was certainly achieved with the first 10 boxes which were tucked up well under the eaves and painted black. The entrances were in the bottom of the box, away from the wall, with a vertical 'landing platform' attached adjacent to the entrance. In other projects under eaves we have used a sloping entrance at the front of the box e.g. . . 
|Successful nest boxes at Rutland Water with entrances|
next to and parallel to the wall. Photo Tim Collins
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|Entrances parallel and perpendicular to the wall|
There is still a question whether the entrance should be parallel or perpendicular to the wall, there are successful examples of both.
We decided to make 5 of each.
The pictures at left illustrate the simple idea we came up with showing both entrance configurations. [the real boxes were painted black and were not possible to photograph]
|Swift's view of entrances|
The spaces between the joists varied between 28cm and 34.5cm, so each box had to be tailor-made. The distance from the wall to the front of the boxes was 25cm. The boxes were made of 12mm weather-proof ply.
The boxes were installed by removing the bottom, screwing the sides to the joists, then replacing the bottom.
Two tweeter speakers have been installed ready for playing attraction calls in May (See Cheng Sheng player).