Friday 25 November 2016

St Vigor's Belfry

The roof on St Vigor's church, Fulbourn, containing 4 Swift nest sites under the eaves (described here), needed repairing. Although the nest sites could be preserved, it could not be done without the Swifts losing the 2016 breeding season. It was therefore decided to install nest boxes in the belfry for the displaced birds.

Before the 2015 season, we installed 8 boxes on the west side of the belfry. Attraction calls were played throughout the summer, and birds were seen investigating the boxes but no pairs became established.

However, in 2016,  2 pairs of Swifts raised chicks and a third box contained a small amount of nest material and an unhatched egg.

Following this success, a further 10 boxes have now been installed in the south side.

In both cases, only the top two louvres are accessible from the inside, the lower louvres being obstructed by a wall.

In most belfries,  a simple box cabinet with a vertical front wall is used. In the case of St Vigor's it seemed better to angle the front at 45° over the louvres.

David Gant, church warden lead the project, ensuring that the attraction calls were played consistently in both years

The following pictures show how it was done.

The south side - view from the inside
Computer model showing how cabinet fronts relate to louvres
2 cabinets before installation. The upper cabinet abutted against the vertical wall,
and the lower cabinet fitted below the top louvre
10 boxes installed. Photo David Gant
The entrance positions are dictated by the stonework resulting in larger central boxes

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