Wednesday 17 February 2016

Maidenhead, Marlow and Cookham Swift Group

Another heartening example of a local initiative to provide more accommodation for Swifts.

by Jan Stannard

This month has seen the start of our area’s Swift box initiative, with the first boxes made locally by volunteers, along with attraction call systems, bought as components and assembled. So far we have agreement for about 40 sites to install boxes.

These are mostly families with suitable houses in areas where we know there are existing Swift breeding sites. These are clustered in streets within the three towns so that they should form ‘loose colonies’. We have already surveyed every single location to make sure it is suitable for swifts in terms of flight path, predator access, aspect and overall height.

On residents’ houses we are installing external boxes because people regard internal boxes as too difficult and too costly to put into their houses. The design is based on Mark Glanville’s twin design, and are sold at cost price (£25 for a twin box). 
Mark Glanville's twin compartment box
WoodStone® Swift Nest Box
In some locations, for example where a cherry picker will be used, we have recommended Woodcrete swift boxes from CJ Wildlife for extra durability.

The property owners have readily agreed to have a sound system, which we are providing ready to use at a cost of £26 (cost price). This comprises a mini amplifier, a tweeter, an SD card with swift calls, a power supply and a suitable length of audio cable (see here).

In addition to domestic properties, we have persuaded the clergy and wardens of two local churches to put in 4-6 boxes in their towers. 

Lastly, we have two new large colony installations: Swift House by McCarthy & Stone (28 internal boxes) and Premier Inn Maidenhead (20 internal boxes).

In total, there will at least 120 swift nesting places if all goes to plan.

The Maidenhead, Marlow and Cookham Swift Group was founded in July 2015 and now has 80 members.

Our website [], 
Facebook page: here.
Installing 2 double boxes

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