Hello, I’m Ann and I have just had a swift brick retrofitted on the side of my house at High Storrs.
It was fitted by Jan Erik Bullet of Nest Box Installations. We are both members of the Sheffield Swift Network, and we both love swifts.
Why retrofit a swift brick?
Bricks last longer than wooden boxes. We know that swifts can live up to 20 years and are faithful to the same nest site. A brick gives longevity and commitment to the swift that its home won’t be taken down, or in the case of roof space nesters, accidentally destroyed by home improvements, such as new guttering or roof repairs. They are also more natural for swifts.
Can swifts get into the house via the brick?
No, swift bricks are self-contained, fire-proof boxes that fit into the bricks and cavity of your home. The entrance is external, and you won’t know that they are occupied.
Will swifts make a mess and do I need to clean out the bricks?
No, swifts are perfect guests. They do not poo in their nest as they don’t want to attract predators. Parents clean up after their chicks. The bricks do not need any maintenance at all.
How do I know what to order and where do I order one from?
1. Measure the depth of your cavity wall by putting (in my case we used a knitting needle) a long stick or screwdriver etc into the hole of an air brick. Or drill into the mortar between the bricks and measure the depth of the outer brick and cavity.
2. Take a photograph of your bricks if you want to colour match your wall, although swifts do seem to recognise darker colours more easily.
3. Go to ‘Action For Swifts’ website here.
4. Choose between two brick options – if your cavity and brick depth is just over 175mm the single deeper brick is all that is needed. However, if your wall isn’t quite that deep you could use a shallower but longer brick. I used the second type which looks like one and a half bricks at the front: see ‘Action For Swift’s’ website for the two brick designs.
5. The bricks cost £34 each plus Postage. They are lightweight. Order the brick and send them a photo of your brick colour if what you want isn’t in store as standard. It may take a couple of weeks longer if it is made bespoke for your house. But it cost me no more than the standard colour brick.
6. If in any doubt ring Action for Swifts. They were very helpful.
Where to install
Swift bricks need to be installed as high as possible – at least two-story buildings (5 meters high) and best under the eaves/verges to avoid driving rain. If fitting more than one brick, try and keep them approximately 1m apart. Also avoid obstructions such as large trees near the entrance.
Installing the brick yourself
If you have the equipment and are comfortable with ladders and tools it is an easy job to do. See the step by step photos below of Jan installing a brick. Action for Swifts have also produced a short video here.
Need someone to install for you?
Jan Bullett and his team from Nest Box Installations is experienced in fitting swift bricks and boxes.
His Facebook page is here.
You can also email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tel/Whatsapp: 07988 755693
Jan or one of his team will make two visits to your house.
Visit one – he will discuss with you the appropriate place to install the brick. He’ll then safely measure the cavity, take a brick photo, order, pay for and supply the colour matched bricks.
Payment in full is required at this initial visit: PayPal.me/SwiftBrickInstalls
Visit two – On the second visit he will fit the brick(s)
Price includes: initial site visit, swift bricks and fitting, and are subject to sight and complexity. Jan will discuss this with you during the initial visit:
1 brick £100
2 bricks £150
3 bricks £225
4 bricks £300
The installation illustrated
While Jan was installing my swift brick I also took the opportunity to have a couple of holes drilled into the underside of my soffit box to enable other birds to nest in there too, it’s a cheap and easy way to increase nesting options.
My house is swift ready!
Attracting swifts to your brick
You can attract swifts to your new home by installing a swift caller, which you can play in the late afternoon / evenings to attract swifts to the site. Swift Callers are worth their weight in gold and cost £23 – £45.
Most come pre-loaded with calls – so you can attach them outside near the box and plug them in inside.
We recommended these swift callers from Peak Boxes and Ebay