Welcome to Action for Swifts, a commentary on the activities, ideas and thoughts of people who care about Swifts. We welcome guest posts, case studies and reports, especially from Swifts Local Network (SLN) members. Please send to firstname.lastname@example.org for publication. To find topics of interest, use the LABELS & LINKS sections, or use search, top left. Click on any image to see it enlarged.
Thursday, 27 August 2015
A new swift tower in Amersfoort, The Netherlands
Swift towers are
going up everywhere from Northern Ireland to Poland, and from England to Germany. The
design, materials and methods for erection and maintenance
are varied. Do they work? Occupancy rates continue to be
modest, so all reports of Swifts using them for breeding are welcome.
One thing for sure: they make a bold public statement. So, even if we
don't get a return on our effort equivalent to the success of, say,
nestboxes in buildings, they have the effect of raising public awareness of the
importance of Swift conservation. The latest example of a Swift tower
comes to us from the Netherlands. The design is ingenious, with a
foldable mast/pole, allowing easy erection and dismantling for
maintenance. We wish our Dutch colleagues luck with their venture Contributed by Marjo van der Lelie
This new Swift tower in Amersfoort,
the Netherlands, was designed and built by the Gierzwaluwwerkgroep
Amersfoort (Swift Volunteer Group). It is made of red cedar. This
type of wood was chosen for its durable and light qualities. The
total weight of the tower is 33 kilograms.
On top of the 8 metre pole
The mast is similar to the one used in the Den helder tower. It is a standard product that is
generally used for the lighting of sports fields. It is foldable and
weighted so it can support the weight of the tower. The mast is 8
meters high. A platform made of galvanised steelplate is welded on
top of the mast. The tower is fixed onto this platform with bolts.
Because the mast is foldable the tower
is within easy reach for future work: the mast can be lowered using a
The tower contains a small speaker.
Electricity is supplied by a solar panel at the back of the speaker.
Twice daily the sound of the swifts is played to entice the
swifts. The roof of the structure is doubly insulated to prevent high
temperatures in the nest boxes. The centre of the structure also
contains a ventilation shaft for cooling the nests.
Ready for erection
The Swift Volunteer Group has
christened the tower the ‘Hotel Apus’. This hotel has 15 spacious
rooms. Every entrance is decorated with a wooden character. Together
they make the word ‘GIERZWALUWHOTEL’, Dutch for ‘Swift Hotel’.
The tower was erected on
Friday 26 June 2015. Marjo and Fred van der Lelie and Gijs Valkenhoef
were the creative and organisational masterminds behind this swift tower. We hope the swifts will soon take up
More information can be obtained from
Marjo and Fred van der Lelie at email@example.com