Exeter’s swift tower

You may recently have seen a new structure that has been erected on the roundabout at Paris Street next to the Vue cinema and wondered what it was. Well it is a Swift Tower! The project has been co-ordinated by Exeter City Council and Devon Wildlife Trust with advice from the RSPB and it has been funded by the developers of the nearby Jury’s Inn Hotel and adjacent  new houses. It cost £40k to build and install.

Swift box 3
It is rather a strange looking Tower but has been designed in Poland and it is hoped that it will act as a breeding tower for swifts which in recent years have undergone significant declines.

Swift box 2
The roundabout has been designed as a mini nature reserve


Swift box 1
You can see the individual swift nesting boxes in this picture – there is also a small speaker on the bottom which is powered by solar panels and in the spring when the swifts return plays swift calls to attract them to the Tower.

It was installed after the breeding season this year so we will have to wait until next year to see if the swifts like it! For details of other swift conservation projects and towers – see here.


21 thoughts on “Exeter’s swift tower

  1. Spending 40K to house swifts using one of the busiest junctions in Exeter..
    From this I take it that Exeter has a zero housing problem for its residents.

  2. Have walked past many times spring/summer 2016 & 2017. Have not noticed any activity in the 45 nesting boxes. Sited in the middle of a small roundabout in Exeter surrounded by heavy, polluting traffic and noise. Not a good idea!
    Let’s hope that something happens this spring 2018? Have we got their environment right?

  3. Since it’s surrounded by heavy traffic there could well be some “twitchers” amongst the passing drivers and their passengers! By having a public awareness campaign could we not get these people on board for future sightings if any? I’m sure there are also many “twitchers” amongst the passing pedestrians, adults and children like myself who would be pleased to help with sightings?

  4. £40,000 would have been better spent buying 800 woodcrete nest boxes. Has it attracted any pairs? One put up in N Ireland 9 years ago has failed to attract swifts

  5. From the photo’s I can’t comment on the suitability of the location for this tower. But that call attraction system looks like a problem to me. In my experience, if you’re attracting swifts to a new nest site, you need to project the calls as far as possible – up into the air, where the swifts are! That speaker set up under the boxes isn’t going to do that very well at all. If it’s not attracted any interest from Swifts yet, that’s probably a good sign that the call setup isn’t working and needs adjusting.

  6. of course. That money world have bought around 800 Schwegler or ibstock nest boxes or 2666 wooden boxes. That would have been so much better for the Exeter swift population

  7. The same swift tower was installed in Poland in Bialoleka which is part of Warsaw in 2012 but no occupation by Swifts after 7 years so I do’t think it is good idea.

  8. And yet some swifts have actually nested in people’s houses or in homemade swift boxes just under the eaves where it’s probably a lot warmer. This ugly SWIFT TOWER designed by a an ignoramus seems an utter failure?

    • Let’s see if it works this year – if it works and hosts a colony of swifts we may view it differently? I think it was done with the best of intentions ….. in other places they have worked as I understand it.

  9. they really are a waste of time and effort. I really don’t get why people are throwing money at them when the money would buy. What about this for a breakdown of what they would but
    £40,000 will buy
    563 ibstock nest bricks
    800 Schwegler boxes
    800 recycled plastic Filcris boxes
    2,666 Zeist boxes
    11,428 home made nest boxes

    11,000 nest boxes put up around Belfast, Exeter and Brighton. Yes Brighton and Hove are putting one up

    The first swift tower ever erected in the UK went up in spring 2009 here in N Ireland. It was positioned on the west shores of Lough Neagh. It has never had swifts nest in it

  10. Hi Mark Swift,
    oops sorry Smith,
    Thanks for all the research and data.👍
    The Exeter Swift Tower is big disappointment. Big mistake!
    No proper consultations with experienced ornithologists.
    Too many ignoramuses knowing very little about bird behaviour and the basics?

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