Thursday 6 December 2012

Michael Osborne's Swift Hotel

UPDATE August 2013: Michael succeeded in attracting Swifts into 3 of his boxes, of which one pair settled in the top box on the right. Michael had used black paint below the entrances on all 3 boxes that the Swifts entered

UPDATE 2017: Michael has divided the top space into 2 new nest chambers, making 10 in total. In 2017, 6 of these chambers were occupied.

It is good to see some considerable effort put into the architectural form of a structure built for Swifts. Our Victorian ancestors got the hang of it with their elegant dovecotes. More recently, the Americans have a whole industry using creative designs for Purple Martin houses. It is desirable that accommodation for Swifts not only suits the birds, but also that it enhances the architectural forms in our environment. Of course, Swift accommodation may be more challenging, as it needs to be erected at least 5 metres high, but Michael Osborne has shown here what can be achieved on the gable end of a modest house.

Here is a picture, left, of Michael's complete 'hotel', which is installed on his girlfriend Amy's house. And my, what an improvement to an otherwise bland gable end.

This birdhouse contains 8 nest chambers for Swifts, it is constructed out of marine ply, and all cut ends are sealed so they are permanently waterproof.

The internal structure is quite complicated, so the following Google Sketchup drawings are intended to illustrate how it goes together.

Sketchup model of complete box

There are 2 sets of 4 boxes each, 4 with their entrances under the louvres on the front and 4 with their entrances on the right. There are no entrances on the left. 

For illustrative purposes, we have chosen a sun angle that highlights the relief of the box, in practice it is installed facing away from the sun.

Front assembly removed

In this picture on the left, the entrances to the 4 boxes on the right can be seen in the 4 floors.

The space under the roof, behind the decorative grill can be used to house speakers to play attraction calls.

Most cuts in this design are at 15°, so relatively easy to make with a jigsaw.

View from inside of front assembly
The front assembly shows the 4 entrances to the boxes on the left side of the box (when viewed from the front).

Should anyone wish to create something similar, then MIchael is happy to supply the Google Sketchup model so you can read off the dimensions.

For many more pictures of this 'hotel' under construction, see SMSWW (requires login).

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