Thursday, 16 April 2015

More experiences of retrofitting internal Swift boxes

There are a number of examples on this blog of retrofitted nestboxes in a roof-space, behind a gable end (e.g. herehere and here). We had not ourselves done this by using a core drill to make a hole through the wall, so when the opportunity arose, we grabbed it with open arms.

[Postscript July 2015: a pair moved into the right most box and raised 2 chicks]

by Dick

Christina Day, of Haverhill, had been trying to attract Swifts to some Zeist nest boxes installed under the eaves on the north east side of her house. She attracted Swifts alright, but they only paid attention to the fascia board on her south east-facing gable end. Thus she felt that she needed more nest boxes on this gable end. She bought 4 woodcrete boxes and contacted AfS to install them. The situation is ideal, as the gable end faces out over open land.

The roof trusses next to the inside wall, restricted what one could do with the woodcrete boxes, so we ended up making 2 plywood boxes.

Having established a reference point by drilling a single hole through the wall through the mortar, we then judiciously chose 4 suitable verticle bonds to make an entrance. This was achieved by using an angle grinder on the outside to slice a quarter brick off the ends of 2 adjacent bricks and then a masonry drill to remove the rest of the material.

This was quite hard work.

A hole from the outside through the middle of the vertical bond provided a reference point for using the 107mm diamond core to drill through the inner wall of soft concrete blocks.

This was the easiest part of the job as the core drill went through the wall like a knife through butter - quite therapeutic!

As in the case of Judith Wakelam's boxes, we used an insert fashioned out of a 30mm airbrick liner to make the entrances on the outside. A 4 inch plastic pipe, butted against the outside wall, bridged the cavity to the inside.

It was more than a full day's work for 2 of us, but we were pleased with the end result.

It would be so much easier if it was standard practice to build boxes like this in at the time that the house is built

The following pictures illustrate the result:

4 entrances
View through the pipe to the outside entrance

4 entrances prior to fitting nest boxes

Bill Murrells finishing off the installation of 2 plywood and 2 woodcrete boxes.
Picture of a diamond core drill

#inserts
#Cambridge

7 comments:

  1. Can't thank you enough for doing such a great job, now just got to hope the swifts will love the boxes too. I'll be playing the swift CD & will let you all know how it goes. Keep your fingers crossed for me. Christina. X

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  2. Hi Dick ..very interested in installing this arrangement on my gable end to replace my existing boxes.My builder mate has all the kit but can you point us in the direction of where to purchase the air brick liners cheers Ian Dobson

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    Replies
    1. Hi Ian,
      We bought these clay air brick liners at Ridgeons. They are a Hanson product:
      http://www.hansonbuildingproducts.co.uk/chimneys-roofing-flue-systems/red-bank-product/list-no-400-cavity-wall-bridging-duct-215-x-65mm
      The internal hole width is 30mm.
      Dick

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    2. Hi Ian,
      We bought these clay air brick liners at Ridgeons. They are a Hanson product:
      http://www.hansonbuildingproducts.co.uk/chimneys-roofing-flue-systems/red-bank-product/list-no-400-cavity-wall-bridging-duct-215-x-65mm
      The internal hole width is 30mm.
      Dick

      Delete
  3. Thanks Dick, I shall invest in some,

    King Regards Ian

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    Replies
    1. Sounds good Ian, let us know how you get on. You still have enough time to get it done this year, as the peak time for attracting new prospecting birds is mid June to mid July. You can contact us directly on actionforswifts@gmail.com
      Dick

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  4. I have a chick...!
    The birds laid two eggs but unfortunately one has rolled off, but there's a chick on the nest being fed well by the parents & I couldn't be more thrilled with our success especially as it's the first year these boxes are up.
    Thanks again.

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