Friday 6 September 2019

Swift brick camera box

We were asked about cameras in Swift bricks installed to mitigate loss of nest sites under eaves in a hip to gable roof conversion.

Ten Swift bricks will be installed, 6 S Bricks high up in the new gable and 4 custom-built Swift bricks with cameras at the same level as the original eaves.

Most Swift bricks are too small to accommodate a camera, and are not constructed for easy access for maintenance.

The situation is a cavity wall 30cm thick, where access to the boxes is required from inside the building. The outside wall is rendered. We decided to make something to satisfy these requirements:
  1. A material that could take rendering
  2. White lights in the box requiring placing the sensor outside
  3. A box large enough so that the camera could see the whole stage, without Swifts wandering off stage
  4. Access from inside the house.
This idea may well be beyond most DIY enthusiasts, unless you have the right tools. In our case a water tile cutter and diamond hole saws. You also need to make some jigs to hold things in place.

We used:
  • 5mm cement fibre board (aka undercloak or soffit board) for 5 walls of the box.  This comes in strips 15 cm wide. The inside wall is plywood.
  • A cast half brick entrance piece to get the entrance clear of the rendering.
  • A 9mm (internal) plastic tube protruding beyond the rendering for the white light sensor.
  • Cameras and white lights were obtained from
We considered 2 glues to assemble the box: Gorilla Glue and Stixall Extreme Power Adhesive. Either could do the job:
  • Gorilla Glue is more expensive but is easier to apply and goes off in about 15 minutes
  • Stixall is cheaper, but takes longer to apply and longer to go off.
We used Gorilla Glue to assemble the box and Stixall for the half brick entrance.

This Swift brick will occupy the outside 18cm of the 30cm wall, leaving 12 cm for temporary insulation between the back of the box and the room inside.

It may also be worth reading what we did here.

Cast entrance piece, cement fibre-board and plywood body.
Note plastic tube bottom right containing the white light sensor.
Access door for simple inspection and maintenance. Removable back for more radical maintenance
Internal dimensions L 34cm W 15cm H 14cm.  The sloping platform is 14cm long at 45°.
The cabling is tucked away beneath the sloping platform. 
The camera has a 2.8mm lens.
The platform is not glued in, it is easily lifted out with the camera and lights
Inside view. The sloping platform keeps the birds on stage

Thursday 5 September 2019

Peak Boxes

We thought it worth publicising a relative newcomer on the Swift nest box market. Lester Hartmann has brought the world of CNC machining to making high precision nest boxes. With a career in building custom furniture he is well qualified to do so.

At Action for Swifts we have focussed on generating ideas, trying them out with amateur carpentry, then describing them as case studies on this blog. We are rather pleased that this has influenced not a few Swift boxes now being offered commercially. Some of our ideas are borrowed, then developed from the Dutch website
The Dutch were always a little ahead of us.

It is good to see Peak Boxes taking this forward, developing and improving on what has gone before.

Peak Boxes products are of the highest quality and should make a very worthwhile contribution to the recovery of Swifts. You can see all the Swift boxes here:

Every effort is made towards being carbon neutral – the raw material is Duraply; plastic is not used in packaging and shipping is with DPD who claim to be carbon neutral.
3-tier apex box