Forest Hill SE23 & Lewisham Borough Swift Group


Hi Brett,
Whereabouts in Honor Oak? Were they up high of flying at building height? I can add all of this to our swift inventory. Also if anyone else sees swifts please let us know where exactly (i.e street name) and if they were high up of flying near roofs. If anyone sees any swifts entering holes in buildings / roofs please also let us know. Thanks.


Robin, what great news about your boxes! You must be pleased :smiley: Did you make them yourself? It is great if you can play swift calls to attract them to your boxes and is much easier when boxes are being put up on individual houses or flats. Without the calls it can take longer, but if swifts are in your area they should find them eventually. A lot of people have found that house sparrows may use the boxes to nest in first (their young should have fledged by the time the swifts arrive) and they show or lead the swifts to them so they use them. I’m not quite sure how this happens but many have reported this.
Definitely set a group up in your area! If you need any help or advice let me know. There are some great sources of information. Let me know how it goes.


Hi Rebecca
I was so pleased to know about your group and of the efforts being made by so many people now to help conserve the swifr populations.

Thanks for your reply and offer of advice re a swift group in my area. I may well need some advice.
The 2 boxes I have were made by John Stimpson via Swift Conservation Trust info. I have another ordered but I have room for 3 more so I will make the next ones to the same design and keep the costs down…
Really interesting to know about the Sparrow accomodation guides!
I have the saucer shape formers in my boxes but tell me, do swifts collect nesting material or do they just lay eggs on the former?
Kind regards


This was in the Recreation Ground. Over Camberwell New Cemetery, the Rec itself, and by the tracks. All at the station end. Just above tree top height and not near any buildings. Probably saw half a dozen roughly. A couple were chasing each other so probably courting! HTH

Loving what you are doing Rebecca. They are extraordinary animals. Used to see many more this time of year, was concerned that hadn’t seen any till now but at least we know that they are around still.


saw quite a few flying high over Perry Rise yesterday evening.


Ok, so not swift related, but does anyone know what these are? I’ve started seeing large numbers of them feeding off the living roof. They’re noisy and hang around for about 20 mins then leave. Hadn’t seen them until this summer.


They might be starlings but I can’t see them very clearly.


Thanks Brett, really helpful. Hopefully they will keep being with us if we can help them. I’d hate to loose them from SE23.


Hi Robin,

Swifts do generally collect nesting material, usually things they find in flight like floating feathers. I saw one fly over my house a few days ago with a feather in its beak. Though I have heard of swifts also just laying their eggs without any nesting material. Robin can you tell me what tweeters you used for your call set up? Also how did you install your boxes I.e ladder or scaffold? Yes the John Stimpson boxes are good and I hear easy to make if you are DIY inclined - I wish I was!
Kind regards


I have finally got all the guidance for setting up swift boxes on your house together! Can I upload documents on here?


Yup, PDFs, DOCs and DOCXs are fine.

PDFs are best as they’re readable on any platform without paid-for software. You can turn pretty much any document into a PDF.

You can upload a document to the forum in the same way as uploading a photo.

Birds in Forest Hill

Setting up Homes for Swifts pdf.pdf (480.8 KB)
Swift boxes availble to buy pdf.pdf (541.3 KB)


So this is very cool. A swift nesting tower near Exeter.


Congrats on this, @Rebecca_Headd :+1:


I would love one in Forest Hill but they cost thousands. Unless we made our own!!


Good to get swifts and the group in the news. This has come at a good time. The most recent BTO report showed that swifts declined by a further 7% last year alone and they are heading towards “red” status which means they are at global risk of extinction!

It has been calculated that 20,000 new nest sites are needed every year just to keep the population at its current number. Sounds like loads but if 40 local authorities across the UK committed to putting 500 swift bricks in their new builds every year it could be done!


Seems partnerships with developers and home builders like Lewisham Homes is the way forward. Looks good on their sustainability CVs.


Lots of swifts around Brockley Rise at the moment. Did anyone manage to get some nest boxes up.


We got 10 up in Wynell Road SE23 with the fire brigades help recently

…and people are putting them up on their houses. Also getting lots of reports of people saying they have swifts nesting in their lofts and have done so for years.


Brilliant- Well done Rebecca really good to hear.