We’re very excited to have exceeded our funding goal to help save Ealing’s Swifts. If you’re not aware of the campaign you can read more here.
But now, we are looking for interested residents, business and organisations who would be happy to host some of our swift nest boxes ahead of their summer breeding season this year. We’re especially interested in public buildings where they can be enjoyed by many. If you’re interested or have a site in mind please read the following to make sure it’s suitable and then drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org.
By hosting some of our Swift nest boxes you’ll be helping this iconic summer visitor and now red-listed bird remain as a thriving species in the borough of Ealing for future generations to enjoy.
We have a few requirements we hope you can meet to be part of the project which we will outline here. It’s important we have suitable sites and full commitment from one or two Swift champions at each site to ensure the success and sustainability of the project.
As we have had a good response from interested parties, we’re asking that you run through this list and self-select whether you think your site might meet these requirements before we arrange a visit. We’re happy to chat through any concerns or minor points that might not fully satisfy the list on a case by case basis either by email or phone.
- A North, East or North-East facing wall on a building to erect boxes
- Space for at least three, but preferably five boxes at least 0.5m apart
- A sheltered position under a ledge or eaves if possible
- A drop of at least 5m height underneath each box, free from any physical obstructions to allow young swifts to drop and take their first flight without becoming grounded
- In some sites we may wish to host a public education sign or information board to showcase the project and educate about Swift conservation and wider biodiversity
- Permission from building owners to erect long lasting nest boxes onto the building, affixed using screws and other hardware drilled into the brick or woodwork
- Access to site with high ladders and/or cherry picker equipment as needed
- Depending on sites, you may prefer to erect the boxes yourself rather than have our contractor visit to do so (please let us know if this is the case)
- Ideally we want to get boxes up by the end of April 2022, but some sites may have to be later (young swifts will still check out boxes put up later in summer)
- One or preferably two people per site who will act as point of contact for us at EWG
- Willingness to act as a Swift champion, educating and advocating for Swift conservation at each site and with any residents, occupants, visitors etc
- Responsibility to operate calling systems during key periods to attract Swifts to the boxes in the early phase of the project, anticipated to be at least three seasons in early and late summer when Swifts are arriving from and preparing to leave for Africa
- We will supply a small electronic device that plays the sound of Swifts at each site to try to recruit returning adult Swifts that are looking for a nest site or have been displaced from a previous one, as well as young Swifts thinking about a nest site for the following summer
- We can also supply a Swift call CD or MP3 digital file for you to play if preferable
- Calling systems need to be played in close proximity to the nest boxes to attract passing Swifts to investigate as they like to nest in loose colonies
- The electronic box can be placed outside on a wall or window ledge and the wire looped back through a window. It needs to be plugged into a USB socket or plug adaptor in order to work and can be placed on an automatic timer. We can provide what is needed at each site
- Calling system volume can be adjusted, but ideally would mimic the natural sounds (and volume) Swifts would make around the nest site anyway
- If there are concerns around noise the calling systems can be played at certain times of day only
- Ideally they should be played for an hour or two in the morning and evening at peak Swift arrival time in late April/early May, and again when young Swifts are on the wing and preparing to leave in late summer (late July/August)
- We can advise on this on a case by case basis, but the use of calling systems for the first few years of a project until Swifts are established in boxes and the site becomes attractive in its own right to passing swifts is a vital part of the success of the project
- We’re hoping you can accommodate the calling system until Swifts take up residence but do let us know if there are any concerns about this so we can find a solution that works for everyone
- Any Swift sightings and breeding records should be submitted both to EWG and Greenspace Information for Greater London (GiGL) each year to support ongoing monitoring of Swifts in Ealing
- We will set up an easy system to do this
- We would also ask that we can visit the site to observe and monitor Swift activity, and if appropriate bring the public to see the boxes if they are successful in attracting breeding Swifts in future
We hope all of the above is reasonable and can be accommodated. Please let us know if your proposed site meets the requirements or get in touch if you have any concerns or queries.
If you have a site in mind or would like to suggest one, ask more questions or volunteer with the project then please drop us a line on email@example.com
More information on swifts and boxes can be found here:
This Post Has 5 Comments
We are a primary school in Greenford and may have a suitable site. We would be interested
We are a primary school situated in Ealing with a wooded area to the back of our school site.
If suitable, we would be more than happy to host “swift boxes.” We already have bird and bat boxes on site.
Hi Jane, could you drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org and we can add you to the list and come visit. Thanks!
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I have found a fledgling swift fluttering about in my loft. Does anyone have any advice about what to do. Is there a person or organisation that could nurture it until it can fly?