22 April 2020

Making new homes for swifts in De Beauvoir




Mike Priaulx ,
De Beauvoir Swifts

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Buckingham Road residents Tim Moss and Lama Hashem have installed integrated swift nesting bricks in an extension to their home, the first of these bricks to be installed in De Beauvoir.

As is often the case, the residents were unaware that swifts were already nesting in their home until the local swifts group advised them that the site was recorded on the RSPB swifts survey database and swifts had been recorded flying into a small gap in their eaves - a sure sign that the birds are nesting there.

The type of swift bricks installed were developed by a building products company Manthorpe in conjunction with Barratt Homes, RSPB, and Action for Swifts.

These are not easily visible at ground level as the external part is the same size, shape and colour of a single brick, with the additional of a small oval entrance hole approximately 3cm high. Behind this external part is a larger nest compartment that sits in the cavity of the external wall.

The residents and their architect were enthusiastic about providing more space for the swifts and they installed two integrated swift bricks near the roof level of the new two-storey extension.

The residents were very happy with the new addition to their home, saying: “We’ve always loved seeing the return of the swifts each year, signalling the start of summer, and were thrilled to find out they are even closer to home. The inclusion of two swift boxes were a great addition to our renovation project and we are grateful to Mike from the De Beauvoir Swifts group for his help and advice throughout the process.”

There is already an impressive total of over 50 external swifts nest boxes in De Beauvoir, which are the type of nest box most suitable when retrofitting to an existing wall. The Benyon Estate have created similar integrated spaces for swifts in the eaves of some homes.

However, these are the first integrated swift bricks to have been installed in De Beauvoir. Similar bricks were installed at the nearby Dovercourt Estate on the other side of Southgate Road, and swifts were seen investigating those within a few months of their installation.

The project architect George Bradley, from BVDS, said: “It’s such an excellent idea and not something we were aware of until the De Beauovir Swifts Group highlighted it. We now automatically have it as a design prompt on all new projects, so that we can make the most of any opportunity to install swift bricks.”

We will look forward to the first week of May when the swifts are due to return from Africa to their nest sites, and hope that these nesting bricks might be successful.

If you want to know more about protecting swifts in De Beauvoir contact debeauvoirswifts@gmail.com 

Twitter @hackneyswifts

Instagram @debeauvoirswifts


Photo credit: Mike Priaulx, The Benyon Estate, GettyImages.