Wednesday 30 March 2016

Je suis un martinet est arrivé!

Front cover (click to enlarge)

We are delighted that our booklet for children, 'I am a Swift - I am in trouble' by Helen Hodgson has been adapted and translated into French. 

This initiative was undertaken by Carolyn Knowlman, who writes:

Chateau Amboise
The background photo of the screamers is the Chateau Amboise in the Loire valley, where, as elsewhere, we realised that swift nest sites were being lost as the town gets poshed up and new buildings are unsuitable. 

The group got off to a great start with a very well attended meeting with Marcel Jacquat & Edward Mayer speaking. We are very appreciative of their help. 

So far this year the group has put up around 50 boxes in and around the town.The Mairie (town council) has got involved and put up boxes too. Next year the aim is to do more with local schools.

The booklets are available by contacting Carolyn via email at
The suggested donation price is €2 Or £1.50 Plus p&p.

Friday 25 March 2016

Another flat-topped roof installation in Tel Aviv

This is another useful case study showing how to add a large number of nestboxes to a protected building, without compromising its appearance. It is the same concept as this project. There must be many flat-topped buildings where this idea could be implemented. It is unobtrusive and access is straight forward should any maintenance be needed. Swifts can be slow to occupy the middle boxes in a row of regularly space boxes, but in this case, the aesthetics required a symmetric arrangement. The Swifts will figure it out eventually.

Amnonn Hahn writes:

The project objective was to build a large Swift Colony. At 15 meters long, it contains 36 nesting chambers. It was installed on the first building in the area long before the City of Tel Aviv was founded. It was built in 1856 by UK Jews who bought an area of 20 acres to serve as the 1st Agricultural Study Centre. It was called "The Farm House".

The Ottoman Empire used it as a "Watch Station" to control the passage between the port of Jaffa and Nablus. The British Army had stationed one of its units there after WW1. The area was sold to the founder of the Israeli Electrical Company (IEC) Mr. David Rothenberg who built the 1st Electrical Power Station in that era. IEC became one of Israel’s largest & strongest companies. In 1968 IEC decided to move the centre of its Board of Directors into this building and it became the first conserved building of Tel Aviv.

The area is right in the centre of Tel Aviv with houses over 100 years old being conserved under the supervision of the City Conservation Dept.

The project was implemented in cooperation with the City Conservation Dept who supported the idea of installing the "Swift Colony" on this "Farm House". They officially approved the Swift Colony design.

The project was also achieved in cooperation with IEC, The Society for Protection of Nature in Israel and The Hoopoe Foundation.

"And the rest is history".

36 boxes neatly installed

36 boxes ready for installation

Before installing the 'sunroof'
Detail of the 'sunroof'

A tweeter built in to one of the nest boxes.

The detail, left, is a 'starling baffle', designed to deter the invasive Vinous-breasted Starling

Everything is ready for the opening ceremony.


Friday 4 March 2016

Beijing Swifts in Chinese Media

One of the intended consequences of the Beijing Swift Project was to further raise awareness of nature in general and Swifts in particular in China.

In the February 2016 edition of the Chinese outdoor magazine "Forest and Humankind", Beijing Swifts make it onto the front cover and are the main story!

Front cover
The article is about the Swift's lifestyle with the migration as part of the story.

We include scans of the front page, with an accomplished painting of Swifts, and a rather nice map highlighting all of the countries visited by Swifts on their epic journey from Beijing to southwest Africa.

You can also read previous posts about the Beijing Swift Project

Schematic map showing the route from Beijing to southwest Africa
and back, including all of the countries visited highlighted in green.

Wednesday 2 March 2016

New Swift tower in Poland

We have been sent pictures of an innovative Swift Tower in Poland designed by Warsaw architect Marcin Grabarczyk, in one of Warsaw's most beautiful parks situated near the Vistula River: Kamionkowskie Błonia Elekcyjne Park. Structural engineering was by Krzysztof Drzazga.

These towers are the result of a design competition organised by STOP, the Warsaw Society for the Protection of Birds on behalf of the City of Warsaw in 2012. The project was completed in January 2016. Two steel towers, 7.94 metres high, each contain 32 nest boxes on the north and east facing sides, with solar panels for attraction calls on the sunny side. The nest boxes are made of wood impregnated with linseed oil.

The plan is to build more towers in Warsaw,  as, in many other places, Swifts are losing their nest sites due to building renovations and insulation.

All of the pictures below are by Marcin Grabarczyk (click on them to enlarge)

The towers on a cold winter's day with the education board beneath

The towers stand at the top of a slope leading down to the water
Solar panels on the backs of the towers

Closer view showing circular entrances