Friday 29 April 2011

Magrath Avenue Swift Street Party

Wills and Kate provided a great backdrop for the Magrath Avenue Swift Street Party. Masses of food & drink, a Swift mobile, and nestboxes were on show, as was the continuous sound of screaming Swifts. The booklet 'I am a Swift' was on sale. A great time was had by all, with many people asking questions of the attendant local Swift "experts" Jake Allsop, Bill Murrells,Helen Hodgson, Bob Tonks and Dick & Vida Newell.

The major outcome was about 15 residents wanting Swift boxes on their houses.

Thursday 28 April 2011

Monday 25 April 2011

Swift nest box entrances

Contributed by Dick:

[Update 2017: since writing this piece, we now recommend an entrance 28mm x 65mm, as some determined Starlings can squeeze into 30mm x 65mm]

Size of entrance
An entrance should let Swifts in and keep other species out, particularly Starlings. If an entrance with width equal to depth, e.g. circular or square, allows Swifts to enter, then Starlings can probably enter too. Conversely any such entrance small enough to keep Starlings out, may make life difficult for Swifts.
Schwegler 1MF

Some commercial boxes, such as the Schwegler 1MF double box and the Schwegler 16 have 45mm entrances that Starlings can easily enter.

Even our hero, Edward Mayer, recommends a home made box with a 45mm circular entrance, which Starlings will love. If you like Starlings, and we do, then put up boxes for them, but well away from any nesting Swifts, as Starlings can get aggressive during the brief period before their young have fledged and after the first breeding Swifts have arrived.

Friday 22 April 2011

Breaking News: Cambridge Swift Tower breaks ground

The foundations of the Cambridge Swift Tower are in: 3 piles supporting a triangle of reinforced concrete beams, now waiting for the supporting structure.

Monday 18 April 2011

A Swift Tower is Created

When we received pictures from Edward Mayer of a Swift Tower erected in Andover, based on some concepts that have been displayed on Edward's website that we had put together some time ago, we felt extremely gratified, and indeed proud, that someone had gone to the trouble of realising our dreams. As a result we invited Terry Verney to give us an account of what he and his team had been up to:

"Back in the autumn of 2010 the chief executive of the Hawk Conservancy Trust asked me to think Swift Towers. Not wishing to appear ignorant of the subject I did some research on the internet having been given the website I was hoping to find drawings giving sizes of the tower but was disappointed to find a concept drawing only. Reading further on I found the recommended size of a nest chamber and the entrance hole size.

Saturday 16 April 2011

The AfS Polo Shirt

Contributed by Jake

[UPDATE: we are afraid that we have sold out of polo shirts]

We just took delivery of 20 polo shirts (see attached pic). They are superb quality - pure Fruit of the Loom cotton - and the logo and legend are crisp and clear. If this doesn't raise the public profile of our efforts for Swifts, I will eat my concave.
I have shirts in the following sizes:S, M, L, XL and XXL. Clearly with a small initial order like this, the unit cost is higher. I paid just short of £300 for them, which includes unit cost, setup costs and VAT.  So I think a price of £15 per shirt is reasonable (p and p add £2.56). Let me know if you want one (email, or call me on 07749 898797).

If we get a good response, it is an easy matter to order more, hopefully with a larger quantity and a reduction in unit cost.
Money: I transferred £300 to the Action for Swifts Community Bank Account, so cheques in payment should be made out to Action for Swifts, not to me. 

Get beautiful, get noticed, get an AfS polo shirt!

Wednesday 6 April 2011

Mrs Nichols' House Restoration Project

Contributed by Helen:

This is a heartening story demonstrating that house restoration doesn’t have to mean disaster for resident wildlife. Thanks to the thoughtfulness of Mrs Nichols, returning swifts were not deprived of their historic nesting site. Mrs Nichols has, for the past two years or so, been restoring her home, a handsome listed house in the Norfolk countryside.

Saturday 2 April 2011

Royal Wedding Swift Street Party

Here is a great way to celebrate the Royal Wedding between HRH Prince William and Catherine Middleton. With one week to go before the expected arrival of Swifts in Cambridge, the residents of Magrath Avenue have decided to hold a street party, one of 34 street parties to be held in the City. Apart from tea and cakes, there will be promotional displays including nest-boxes, swift mobiles and booklets. Local Swift experts will be on hand to answer questions.