Wednesday 15 May 2013

Swift boxes in a garage gable end

Back in 2009, we were contacted by Jacky Gulliver from Thornham in Norfolk for advice in putting Swift boxes into a garage she was having built - this is her story so far. It is another example of doing something aesthetically very pleasing.

Plywood nestbox sits behind the brickwork
is made from 7mm ply and each is 325 mm long x 205 mm high x 230mm deep.
The box has a hinged back for cleaning etc. 
The front of each box has a piece cut out.  This is the same size as a brick face plus mortar lines and was used as the dummy brick front.   
The entrance hole, 75mm wide x 30mm high, is positioned to one side of the front and cut about 10mm above the floor line.
To make it look like a brick we just used PVA glue and sprinkled brick dust and bits on it.  Better would be to do the whole Blue Peter thing as you suggested, and give the front a brick colour base coat first.  If the edges are left they can be painted like mortar lines.
Close up of dummy brick front
To fit the front we just screwed a ply floor to it so it sat on the bricks and pushed it up to the box - we have made them a tight fit and this has worked fine so far but possibly screwing the front into side battens would be better as long as this didn't foul the entrance hole.
In one of the lower boxes we have a small cd player and use the remote to turn it on and off.  A bird tried to get in there so we have made that entrance hole inaccessible.
We played the cd as much as possible and certainly whenever we saw Swifts about.  In 2010 birds occasionally looked in and in 2011 there seemed to be more activity and we wondered if they would nest but there was still a lot of work going on here.
In 2012 there was no disturbance near the garage and we were able spend time watching.  Sitting on the front drive, leaning back, feet up, staring with binns at the garage wall can be quite a talking point for neighbours!
Can't tell you how excited we were when we realized birds were actually going in and out.  They go so quickly - if we blinked we'd miss them!
The whole point of the project was of course to help Swifts - how awful to fly all the way back from Africa only to find your home gone - re roofed, building knocked down etc.  BUT we have had so much enjoyment watching for them and what a thrill when a bird interrupts its aerial acrobatics to look in our box - we can't wait to see what happens this year!

1 comment:

  1. How lovely Jacky. I hope they nest for you. Ours arrived back today. We have lived at our house in Shortlands, Kent for only three years but the neighbours tell us that swifts have been nesting in our eaves for many years.
    I am always so thrilled to hear and see them come back. I really wish you luck after all the effort you have gone to, to attract them.