Monday, July 13, 2015

The first Swift flew by ~ today!

I've been broadcasting the Swift Calls CD now for a full week.

 I've had the calls playing from between 3 to 14 hours each day, but I had still not seen a single Swift in the area.

However this morning, on the 8th day, which turned out to be a dreadfully damp & dreary, wet, mizzly day, I had taken the player down & rested it on the window sill while I walked my dogs before switching it off & taking it inside out of the wet, when the first Swift suddenly appeared!

It flew around the house once, then once around my 1 acre paddock before headed South, without ever going near my boxes.

Hopefully the next one will stay a little longer & be just a bit more curious.

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Heat problems with a South facing aspect.

I was well aware that my South facing wall wasn't ideal.

This is why I adapted a common nest box design by adding the false roof, front & side to each box.

However, tucking them under the eaves also helps to keep the harmful rays of the sun from heating up the interior of each box, too much.

As you can see in the next two photos, even although this is 1pm on a sunny day, the boxes themselves are being protected & are mostly in shade.

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By the middle of the afternoon, only a thin strip of direct sunshine is reaching the lower right corner of each actual nest box.

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By 5pm, the boxes are all in full shade. 

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Attracting Swifts to my Nest Boxes.

The next job was to try & encourage Swifts to visit my Nest Boxes.

So first, I acquired a Swift Calls CD.

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Then, using the small speaker from a mini Stereo Sound System,

I removed the front from the lower nest box & started broadcasting the Swift Calls. 

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Here's a short video that will give you some idea of just how far these calls can be heard.

video

Swift Calls

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Here's a shorter video clip taken nearly 300 yards away & the Swift Calls can still be heard. 

I'm sure the Swifts can actually hear these calls from a lot further away than this.

video

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Fixing my Swift Nest Boxes to the wall.

First I made a template, to save having to try & balance a box & drill holes into the wall, while hanging onto the top of a ladder.

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Then I drilled 3 holes in the back of each box. 

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I used 3 x 7cm Screws to fix the boxes to the wall. 

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Then fixed each box to the wall, under the eaves. 

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Six Swift Nest Boxes now up.

The top box is at 6 metres, while the lower one is appx. 4 & a half metres up.
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As you can see, I used a long ladder.

However, for the sake of safety & comfort, 
I would recommend the use of a scaffold tower or cherry picker.
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The view from the lower box. 

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Budgie Concaves for the Swift Nest Boxes.

Purchased six Budgie Concaves.

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Here's one in place. 

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Painting the Swift Nest Boxes.

Painting the boxes: 

2 coats of undercoat & 3 coats of Brilliant White Gloss paint.

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The first undercoat.

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The 2nd undercoat. 

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The 1st Gloss coat.

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 The 2nd Gloss coat.

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3rd & final gloss coat on each box.

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... including the base of each box. 

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The final touches. 

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 They're now ready for the wall. 

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Making the Swift Nest Boxes.

Next, I started to construct the boxes.

Here are the first four.

 
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However, instead of making the next four boxes, I decided to limit myself to six boxes. This would allow me to use the material for the false fronts, roofs & one side & save me having to buy another full board of Marine Ply. 
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Here are the six boxes, now made up to include the false front & top.

 
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In this photo you can see that the wood from the spare two boxes, has now been cut up for the false, top, front & one side, plus spacers.

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 As well as screws & pins I used strong glue to fix the false fronts.

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Likewise for the false roofs. 

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... & false ends. 

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False roof & side in place. 

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... & false front. 

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Preparing the timber for the Swift Nest Boxes.

Marine Ply

 I purchased a board of Marine Ply & first cut it up into the necessary sections for 8 Boxes.

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Then I cut out the Swift access holes.

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Choosing a location for my Swift Nest Boxes.

Unfortunately, due to the warming effects of the afternoon sun, my South facing gable wall is my only choice as the North facing wall has numerous cables & wires running to it & a close, 14' high Leyland hedge.


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 On the plus side though, it is around 6 metres high & has clear sky in front of it, with the ground sloping away from it for 500'.

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