DIY Swift box designs - old

This page is now redundant, the content has been moved to 

In addition to the designs below on this page, visit these websites:
Swift Conservation DIY page
Dutch swift box designs
Bristol Swifts nest box designs

There is a wide range of commercially available Swift boxes, but for those who like DIY, here are some possible designs. All of the designs listed here are suitable for installation externally. None of the carpentry required is particularly advanced, though it helps to have some power tools such as a jigsaw, mitre saw and skill saw.

Note, that in some of these posts, we recommend an entrance size of 30mm x 65-75mm. As Starlings can squeeze into a 30mm slot, we now recommend an oblong or obround entrance 28mm x 65-75mm.

The Model 30
This box is suitable for any location as it has a double thickness, waterproof roof (made of uPVC). The 30° sloping roof should deter predators.
Read more
For design details, download (pdf)
Flatpack assembly instructions (pdf)
Assembly animation: Youtube
John Stimpson now supplies this nest box: 
Email: Phone: 01353 740451

Recycled water pipe Swift box
This is a low-cost, waterproof, long-lasting, low weight and aesthetically acceptable Swift nest-box.
Read more

Zeist nest box
This box is based upon a Dutch design. Over 5000 7000 8000 10000 of these boxes have been supplied by John Stimpson. If made of plywood, they are ideal under eaves where they are out of the rain and sheltered from the sun.
Read more

Simple shoebox designs
These designs are the simplest possible carpentry. Ideal under eaves out of the rain.
Read more

4-box cabinet
This can be made in 2, 3 or 4-box versions.
Read more

End box cabinet
This can be made in 2, 3 or 4-box versions
Read more

Eaves box design tool
This tool will calculate all of the dimensions needed to make eaves boxes to fit a wide range of geometries.
Read more

Box for open eaves with joists
These can be the most unobtrusive of all external nest boxes.
Read more

Oostvoorne eaves box
These boxes were designed for a mitigation project in Holland
Read more

Triangular colony boxes
We have a number of examples of triangular cabinets on gable ends. Because of the height, the top of a gable is a good location for Swift boxes.
Read more

How to measure the slope of a roof
Sometimes when neatly fitting nest boxes under sloping eaves or a triangle in a gable, it is necessary to measure accurately the slope of the roof. This shows you how.
Read more


  1. Question re Suitable Nature cam/ Trail cam
    I'm interested in setting up a suitable "nature cam" or "trail cam" the type that is triggered by movement in front of the cam. I want to position it to see which of 4 adjacent boxes have attracted Swift interest next spring.
    Bearing in mind the speed of approach of swifts, has anyone used a cam with sufficiently fast trigger response?

  2. Trail cams are not quick enough for monitoring Swifts entering and leaving their nests. You need a cctv camera and a DVR with motion detection. These record in a loop so that once motion is detected, they can back up a few seconds.

  3. I want to thank you for this Excellent post. I enjoying this article so much and I have bookmarked your website for future check.