Saturday 7 May 2016

Some implementations of the Cambridge Swift Box System

The Cambridge Swift Box System is a method of installing internal nest boxes, by replacing a whole brick or half brick with a cast insert containing an entrance hole, with a nest box inside the building.  

We have now installed boxes in 8 houses with pleasing results in all cases (see examples - scroll down to see all examples). It is particularly straightforward in solid walls, at roof space level, where the headers go all of the way through the wall. Such walls typically have soft lime mortar, so removing a header is an easy job. Below are some pictures of the results from 3 such projects. In all cases, the boxes inside the roof space are a simple plywood construction, with a hinged inspection door.

The first example 
This came about when we were walking down Haddenham High Street and we spotted an old unused Zeist Swift box on a gable end. The owner was in the garden, so we engaged in conversation. There were 3 missing bricks in the wall above the Swift box, so we made the obvious suggestion to her, resulting in 3 new nest places for Swifts, instead of the Zeist box.
[Update 2022 - all 3 boxes are occupied]

The original unoccupied Zeist box, exposed to sun and rain,
with 3 bricks missing from the wall

3 entrance pieces inserted
Close up

The second example
This is right next door to the first example, and was the reason we were walking down Haddenham High Street in the first place
[Update 2017: 2 pairs of Swifts have moved into the boxes on the right]
The whole gable end, with 2 sets of 3 entrances
[UPDATE 2018: all 6 nest boxes are occupied!]

Close up of 3 entrances

The third example
This is an old vicarage in Longstanton.
[Update 2017: the first pair of Swifts has moved in]
[Update 2022: 3 boxes are occupied by Swifts and 1 by Blue Tits
6 entrances virtually invisible from a distance
[UPDATE 2017: 1 box is occupied]

Close up

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