Attracting Swifts

Once you have got your nest boxes in position you then need to get the swifts to come by, have a look, hopefully enter the box and go get a mate.

The player here is a boat / motor bike amplifier that includes a USB and SD card slot. It comes with a remote.

Power for the amplifier here is a 12 volt 500ma power adapter for use in the UK

The speakers here are small tweeters that can be screwed to the front of a nest box or below on the base

Its all very simple to set up. Download the recordings to a SD card or memory stick. The player has slots where speaker wire is pushed in and clamped in place.

You could be very lucky and get swifts in boxes in the first season like some people do find but for most people it could be the second year.

Mark has now made recordings from his swift colony which can be supplied on a CD, camera card or memory stick - email

How to attract Swifts Apus apus to new nest sites

If you want to attract swifts to nest in new areas you NEED to play swift attraction calls. This is because young swifts breeding for the first time find potential nest sites by following swifts which are already breeding. If there are no swifts nesting near you NEED to play calls and even if swifts are nesting nearby playing calls will help your nest sites to be used within a reasonable period of time. 

If you are encouraging people to put up nest boxes e.g. on a school building you MUST explain to the teacher involved that swift calls NEED  to be played near the boxes to encourage swifts to nest. If calls are NOT played then colonisation of the boxes could take many years, if no swifts already nest in the immediate area.

So please mange people’s expectations! It is NOT EASY to get swifts to nest in new areas quickly!  The only way at present to attract them to nest is to play swift calls! It is the nearest thing to a 'silver bullet' for achieving success.  

How and when should you play the calls?

The simple answer is as loud and as long as possible, subject to not annoying anyone! Swifts are most active in good weather and in the early morning and late evening. These are therefore the best times to play calls but any time of day particularly in good weather and in June and July can be effective. It is also best to position the speakers as close to the boxes as possible.

If you are playing calls near where people work e.g. a school or other workplace the best times to play, with avoiding possible annoyance in mind, is from 6.30 am to 8.30 am. This is achieved by fitting the call system to an automatic timer plugged into the mains electricity. The timer should then be programmed to come on at 8.30 pm and to play until 10.30 pm when it should be programmed to turn itself off.