swifts lover builds 27,500 swift nest containers!

swifts lover builds 27,500 swift nest containers!
swifts lover builds 27,500 swift nest containers!
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John Stimpson from Cambridgeshire has been constructing swift nest containers since he retired 13 years in the past! Nat Geo Children caught up with him to be taught all about these barmy birds, and why they imply a lot to him…

It’s John!

What are swifts?

swift nest boxes | a swift flying

Swifts are speedy little birds that journey to the UK each summer time, all the way in which from Africa!

“They’re consistently within the air,” John tells us excitedly. “They don’t land, besides to nest – and in the course of the first three years of their lives, earlier than they’re sufficiently old to breed, they by no means cease flying. They’ll even sleep on the wing!

swift nest boxes | a swift flies up under the eaves of a roof, towards a small gap
This swift is attempting to nest beneath a contemporary roof!

In days passed by, swifts used to breed within the nooks and crannies of British rooftops, settling in below the eaves. However sadly, trendy homes aren’t constructed with swifts in thoughts…

“I’ll be 80 quickly”, John says, “and I do not forget that after I was youthful the streets had been completely alive in early summer time with swifts, swallows, and home martins. Sadly, these superb birds are quickly declining now, as a result of there are so few locations for them to nest.”

How John helps!

When John retired 13 years in the past, he went to a chat by a swift conservation charity. After listening to that the birds had been struggling to nest, John determined he’d do one thing to make a distinction. So, he began hand-making swift nest containers in his storage!

“I’ve made about 27,500 containers now”, John tells us proudly. “They go everywhere in the British Isles, and to different European international locations as properly! After I first began, I may make three in a day – however now I make about 100 every week. I’ve acquired a bit faster, over time!”

From shopping for the timber, to making the field after which promoting it, all of it occurs out of John’s storage – what an achievement!

“I get an amazing quantity of delight from making them”, John explains. “I really like seeing the place they’re all going, too! Swifts return to their authentic nest website 12 months after 12 months, so hopefully, every household will return to the identical field to lift their chicks safely sooner or later.”


John celebrated his eightieth birthday in January 2022 – by constructing his 30,000th field! Amazingly, he estimates that the containers could have housed greater than 60,000 swifts.

What are swift nest containers like?

two sifts fly by through the air

Swifts have fairly particular nesting necessities, due to their love of life on the wing.

“A swift nest field is a quite simple affair, it’s simply feathers and down, which they take straight out of the air!” John says. “They’re very clear birds, and maintain their nests tidy – so folks don’t want to fret about their droppings falling on flooring or automobiles.”

John tells us that on account of this, their nest containers look a bit totally different from these you’d have for typical backyard birds like starlings or blackbirds…

“The swift containers are lengthy rectangles with very slim entrances in order that the birds can simply fly straight in. Swifts swoop into the containers at nice velocity, in order that they must be tremendous correct! It’s superb to look at.”

How one can spot swifts close to you!

swift nest boxes | a flock of swifts against a blue sky

These superior birds are likely to arrive on the starting of Might yearly, however you want to maintain your ears open, in addition to your eyes, if you wish to spot one…

“To identify a swift, you want to do lots of strolling round together with your head within the air, wanting up on the sky!” John laughs. “It may be within the countryside or within the cities – typically you’re most probably to see them the place there are just a few buildings, as they’ll collect there in small flocks. And so they’re screaming, so hear out! Swifts are often known as the ‘satan chook’ due to their shrill calls, it’s a implausible factor to listen to. As I say, at 80 years outdated, I’m nonetheless actually having fun with it!”


Why not purchase a swift nest field on-line, or construct your personal? Then subsequent 12 months, these superior birds would possibly come to go to you, too!

What do you consider John’s superb swift nest containers? Tell us within the feedback!

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