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Swift bird in a swift box

Photo courtesy of SOS Swifts

Swifts are an iconic species of bird in the UK, with their signature silhouette instantly recognisable, but in just under 20 years their population has declined by a staggering 45%.

Swifts like to nest in nooks and crannies. One of the reasons for their decline is a lack of nesting sites caused by many new buildings being built without nesting opportunities for swifts and old buildings being knocked down or repaired.

Swifts are a priority species in the Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). As part of the nature recovery efforts in the AONB, steps are being taken to boost the numbers of swifts by installing nest boxes on tall buildings and playing their calls to attract them. Ideal places for nest boxes are under eaves, on or in gables, or high walls.

To help facilitate this, the AONB team has numerous swift nest boxes that can be given out for free to expand the size of existing swift colonies, or to establish new ones. hings to consider for suitable nest box sites:

  1. Height above ground should be at least 4.5 metres
  2. Ideal places for nest boxes are under eaves, on or in gables, or high walls
  3. Nest boxes can be painted to match the colour of the building
  4. Make sure the swifts have a clear flight path to/from the nest boxes

If you live in the AONB and think you may have a suitable location for up to six swift boxes and you would like to apply for a free set, please email a photo of the location along with your postal address/grid reference OR what3words reference.

We can give out boxes for free based on the following two scenarios:

  1. To expand the size of existing swift colonies (in which case a swift caller won’t be required).
  2. To establish new colonies – in which case the host will need to purchase a suitable swift caller (and show photo evidence of this).

Please note we cannot install the boxes and caller for you. This needs to be done safely by the applicant.

Fun fact about swifts: Swifts fly roughly 500 miles every day!

Leiston Loves Swifts Project – Galloper Wind Farm Fund

This project has been supported by funding from the Galloper Wind Farm Fund.

One successful project underway is the Leiston Loves Swifts project, supported by funds from the Galloper Wind Farm Fund. The project has helped provide homes for swifts in three distinct locations:

  1. Leiston
  2. Thorpeness
  3. Middleton

So far, more than 100 nest boxes and 18 swift callers have been installed at 20 different locations. If you live in either of these three locations and you would like to apply for some free swift boxes and swift caller too, please email us

You may have an existing swift colony and would like to provide further nesting opportunities for a growing swift population to help expand your colony size (in which case we can provide you with free boxes – without the need for a caller because swifts are already present).

Alternatively, you may want to establish a new colony of swifts and we can help you with this by providing you with six free swift boxes and a free swift caller too.

Swift flying

Volunteer to help swifts!

Would you like to volunteer to help swifts in the AONB?

We are looking for help with finding suitable sites for swift boxes and distributing boxes and callers around the AONB.

If you would like to find out more about these opportunities please email us.