We’ve had a swift tower in the orchard for over ten years now, and we’ve had resident swifts for the last few years, enticed by recorded swift calls coming from the tower. However, we have noticed that some pesky squirrels have been gnawing at the entrance holes in the swift box. The squirrels might want to move in, or even predate any eggs and chicks they find. So, with further help from the Swift Conservation charity, we have squirrel-proofed the swift tower.
A group of orchard and swift conservation volunteers wrestled with scaffold towers ,scaffold boards and rope and managed to remove the damaged front and sides of the swift box. They emptied ten years worth of nesting material and replaced the front and sides with a slightly different profile – this includes some metal reinforcements to deter squirrels from chewing the nest box entrance holes. At the same time they have moved the lower bat box on the tower to above the other bat box, in the hope that this will also make access to the nesting area harder for the squirrels. Fingers crossed that our resident swifts like their improved home when they return.