Sunday 28 June 2015

Another gable in the sun

My daughter and son-in-law decided they would like a Swift box on their Elsworth, Cambs house. The only viable place was at the top of a west-southwest facing gable end.

[Postscript: On July 1st 2015, the "hottest July day ever", the temperature reached 32.8°C in the box - well within safe limits]
[Postscript 2: on July 23rd 2015, A Swift enters the top box. There have been up to 7 'bangers' pulled in by the attraction calls]
[Postscript 3: June 11th 2016, the birds are back in the top box]
[Postscript August 2017, the birds returned in May, laid 5 eggs which were all displaced, but a change of concave to something with vertical edges resulted in the 6th egg producing a chick which fledged]
[Postscript July 2018:  there are pairs with eggs in the top and left boxes]
[Postscript July 2020:  All 3 chambers occupied this year by 3 breeding pairs]

by Dick

The design is a very similar idea to this box, which did not have a potential over-heating problem. This configuration contains just 3 nest chambers. West-southwest is not as bad as south, but the afternoon sun could well be a problem.

4 things should keep the temperature within reasonable limits:

•  The front is 24mm thick - 2 layers of 12mm plywood.
•  The shaped battens cover about half of the front and provide shade from sun directly into the entrances.
•  It is painted white.
•  Air can ventilate into the space between the box sides and the eaves.
A wireless max-min thermometer has been placed in the top box to monitor the maximum temperature each day.

The battens keep the entrances in the shade. The tweeter is attached to the bottom of the box with Velcro.
[Postscript: the swifts pulled the tweeter off, so it has been moved inside one of the boxes]

The detailed construction is illustrated in the pictures below:

#triangle #temperature

Tuesday 23 June 2015

Maiden Tower, Baku, Azerbaijan update

We previously reported on the Swifts in the Maiden Tower here
It was one of the most stimulating talks at the Cambridge International Swift Conference

Maiden Tower on the left, nest boxes o the right

Despite extensive restoration of the Maiden Tower, the project team were able to keep up to 150 nest cavities in the Tower itself. In addition, many more nest cavities were created on a neighbouring modern building. By regular watching during the breeding season and inspection of sites afterwards, it was estimated that at least 40 pairs bred. Playing of calls seems to be very successful and the team are expecting the number of breeding pairs to grow in coming seasons. A valuable spin-off from the project is the publicity given to Swift conservation: last year over 250 official delegations visited the Tower and the adjacent building.
For this update, we wish to thank Samir Nuriyev, Director of the Administration of State Historical-Architectural Reserve “Ichersheher” under the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Special thanks are also due to Mrs Leyla Aliyeva, Vice-president of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and founder of IDEA (International Action for Environmental Action) for initiating and coordinating the project to provide alternative accommodation for Swifts in the adjacent modern building.

 One of the challenges to architects and designers is how to add Swift accommodation to a new building in a way that does not spoil the appearance of the buildilng. Essentially you either try to hide the boxes, or you make a feature of them. The Baku architects took the second route and boldly arranged the boxes on the buildling surface to look like giant Swifts.

Here is an inspiring video showing Swifts using the new nest boxes: