It will soon be time to play those calls!

I’m sure many of you will be keeping your fingers crossed that our African migrants will choose your new box for their new nests this year. These things take time (even years) but the important thing is these guys will have more options. One way to gain their interest is to mimic the calls of a residing swift from (around) your box.

I have personally tried and tested these swift calls and they worked in getting the swifts’ attention and finally investigation. I now have residing swifts.

You can download these calls (see link below). I found that the single calls worked a treat, more so than the colony ones. The calls are all downloadable.

To get these calls near your box, you can either:

– play them on your mobile (risky if your phone starts ringing), or,

– buy a specialist sound system such as that offered by Peak Boxes: or

– invest in a bluetooth speaker (see link below of a tried and tested example) with an sd card which you would put the calls onto.

I used this bluetooth speaker and hung it on a length of string and trapped it in a window near the box (putting a large knot in it to prevent the string sliding through).

The calls need to be a similar volume of the bird calling, so imagine they are calling out to passing swifts, they need to be loud enough to be heard. From street level, people tend not to notice, they may hear the calls but they are no louder than the birdsong that’s going on naturally.

Only play calls in good weather so don’t bother when it’s raining or cold. Playing them in the morning is a good move, and then maybe late afternoon/early evening. Basically for as long as you can get away with it, without annoying the neighbours. Also, just looking out for the swifts and switching on your calls when you see them about is a good move.

Playing the calls from early May until the end of July is best. This year’s breeders will be looking in May, next year’s breeders look from the end of June until the end of July. There’s plenty more information online but I hope you get the gist!

CALLS (well known and used dutch swift calls):…/zwaluwen-werkgroep/…

BLUETOOTH SPEAKER:…/ref=cm_sw_r_apan_i…


Come help make a Scream of Swifts – Sun 15th & 22nd January – Abbeyfield Park

Patrick Amber and Jan-Erik Bullet who made the fantastic swift for the Sheffield Swift Network’s recent petition presentation at the Sheffield Town Hall will be hosting 2 workshops, making a Scream of Swifts! All swifts made will be used for SSN’s forthcoming publicity and campaign events. They will be making swifts out of willow, tissue…

We’re proud to be a part of the Sheffield Swift Network

This year, S6 Swifts joined forces with other Sheffield swift groups to form the Sheffield Swift Network. We have been extremely busy as a result, working with a broader Sheffield team to champion swifts on several fronts. We’re still working to save swifts on a local level, but if you’re interested in the work of…

More fittings in February – and 150 nest spaces so far!

Another 2 fitting days in February saw our total nest spaces top 150 as we start to ramp up before these beautiful birds embark on that epic journey back to our shores. Little do they know what’s been happening whilst they’ve been away! We’ve definitely started 2022 as we ended 2021 with a constant stream of enquiries and orders. It’s kept us very busy indeed but it’s really heartwarming to see the desire to help these swifts is not relenting, but growing. We say it alot but we really want to say it again: thank you to every one of our customers who have bought a box and had it fitted (by our awesome Jan of Nest box installations). For anyone who is still thinking about getting a box but not sure about whether they have a suitable location, please fill out our form and get in touch, all our advice is free and we’d love to hear from you.

We provided 117 nest spaces in 2021. We look forward to providing many more in 2022.

It has been a rollercoaster year for S6 Swifts. We were founded, we reached out to the public with an idea, and the public thought it was great. So we ordered boxes, fitted them, gave advice and went from strength to strength. It’s been an incredible journey so far and the timing has never been more critical. Swifts are on the red list which has made this initiative even more important. Our latest fitting day resulted in a running total of 117 new nest spaces ready and waiting for the swifts when they return. 17 more than Emma’s initial aim of 100.

And we lost Emma. Emma was the driving force behind the establishment of S6 Swifts. She didn’t mess about. She ensured we got stuck in to get the initiative off the ground. No time was wasted and we have achieved so much already because of Emma. We will always be thankful for that and will ensure her legacy lives on. Already we have a number of orders for 2022 and our next fitting days are scheduled for February. Thank you to everyone who’s already acquired a box and thank you to those who have ordered one recently. And thank you Emma. Happy new year to all and here’s to an exciting 2022.

Second fitting day – 10 more swift nest boxes!

On the 16th August 2021, S6 Swifts ran their second swift next box fitting day.

Today we fitted 11 more swift boxes in Hillsborough, Walkley and Loxley. Like last time, there were mostly Double Boxes so added up to homes for 18 pairs of swifts! One person even went for two Double boxes fitted on the front of her house, and we fitted several with the ‘bat back’ option which has an added bat roosting chamber behind the box.

Once again thanks to our fitter, Jan. Thankfully it was a much cooler day than last time!

We were joined by Nicola and Fran from newly-formed S11 Swifts for part of the day. They’d come along to have a taster of swift box fitting and to have a chat about their plans for the group. We’re really pleased to see a new group taking shape and would really like every part of Sheffield to have its own swift group! We know the demand and interest is there because we receive enquiries from all over the city.

We’ve got another fitting day next week and will then plan for another one in September. We need to think about moving into ‘winter mode’ and also ensuring our project is sustainable so we don’t burn out. Emma is still determined to get to 100 boxes and we’ve ‘only’ done 21 so far…

Off to a flying start! Our first 10 boxes fitted

On the 19th July 2021, S6 Swifts ran a successful pilot scheme to supply and fit swift boxes on houses in the S6 postcode area of Sheffield

Today we fitted our first 10 boxes. Lots of people opted for Double Boxes (and even one Triple!) meaning we installed safe and cosy homes for up to 16 pairs of swifts! Big thanks to super-fitter Jan for calmly coping with whatever the houses of S6 threw at him, not to mention the sweltering temperature.

The highlight of the day was standing chatting outside a lady’s house in Walkley about how long it would take for swifts to notice her new nest box and seeing a swift fly in straight under her eaves. So they were already nesting! But at least when the babies fledge and return to Sheffield next year the there will be one more home for them.

It was just so enjoyable to be out in the community, chatting to people about these wonderful birds.

We’ll now do a bit of a review of how it went and hopefully come up with some ideas to iron out teething problems/plan how the scheme will operate in future. But we already have 15 more people wanting swift boxes so certainly feeling the snowball effect!