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Could you build a nest box for Long Ashton's swifts?

Each year, when swifts return to the UK, there’s no guarantee their homes will still exist. Modern development means the gaps and holes in old buildings and structures that they favour are becoming increasingly rare.

The newly formed Long Ashton Swift Project is working to help provide nest boxes for swifts in Long Ashton, and protect places that swifts are already calling home.

This will be a collaborative effort - the group is hoping to find crafty volunteers in the village willing to construct nest boxes to be distributed in key locations where swifts are known to have nested.

Build a swift nesting box

Below is a simple design for a swift box from the RSPB. There are lots of other, more complex designs but this one has the advantage that it is made from components that are all the same width. So, a 2440mm x 1220mm sheet of exterior 12mm ply can be cut up into 8mm x 150mm x 2440mm pieces that will make eight boxes. 

Feel free to check out some other designs such as these from the Wildlife Trusts and Bristol Swifts group.

Once a box is built, what else can be done to encourage swifts to move in?

  • Painting some or all of the box interior matte black

  • Creating a baffle within the box to restrict light shining into the nest box

  • Building a nest/bowl shape with some nest material already attached

  • Adding a small landing strip or ledge at the box entrance

  • Playing taped Swift calls nearby, via speaker, during the breeding season (May-July)

  • Put up two or more boxes near each other as swifts are social birds and like to nest in groups

Get involved with Long Ashton Swifts

If you’d like to learn more about the project; if you think you might have had swifts nesting at your house; or if you could build and donate a swift box - get in touch via the Long Ashton Swift Project Facebook group.

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