Swifts in Angeren, project Nije Hof, june 2009 - ?

Around the end of June 2009 I was contacted by someone at the construction company Meuwsen BV, the company that did such an excellent job renovating a building in the Ziekerstraat in Nijmegen (see also the Ziekerstraat project page. Meuwsen BV would start a project called Nije Hof, 12 houses and 6 appartments in the village Angeren, about 10 kilometers from Nijmegen (in a straight line). I was asked to give advice on nesting facilities for House Sparrows (Passer domesticus, Huismus in Dutch) and Swifts (Apus apus, Gierzwaluw in Dutch). I was of course very honoured and happy that Meuwsen BV thought about birds when starting a project like this!
I sent an email with lots of information to Meuwsen and received a response telling me the information was useful and that Meuwsen would look at which nesting facillities they could apply.

On September 28th 2009 I went to the construction location to talk about the nesting facilities. The location is quite rural for Swifts, but the centre of Angeren may well offer nesting space for Swifts. Installing nestboxes for Swifts could be a useful investment in the future of Swifts in this area as some of the old nesting places might be lost during renovations or demolition.
I received a couple of questions of buyers about the possible nesting facilities in response to Meuwsen's question to them whether or not they would be willing to cooperate. I responded to the questions by email and received a map of the project so I could determine what would be suitable places for nesting facilities. In addition to House Sparrow and Swift nesting facilities, I also recommened facilities for bats. As commercially available bat boxes that can be incorporated in a building are quite pricey, I thought of a relatively simple alternative consisting of a simple wooden box that can be installed in a hollow wall. No more than an opened horizontal joint (about 1,5 cm high and as wide as the installed box) would be enough for bats to enter the box.

On November 16th 2009 I received an email telling me a total of 26 nestboxes for Swifts/House Sparrows will be installed, among which 2 wooden boxes for exterial fixture (on request of the buyer). In addition, 12 boxes for bats will be created and installed. A great result! If all goes well the first boxes should be built in around week 50 (the second week of december).

On May 17th 2010 I went to the project site to take a look at the results and to meet with my contact and a journalist of regional newspaper Gelderlander. I took several pictures and the interview went really well. Also, I saw a couple of Swifts passing over the project. Quite high, but still...


On May 20th 2010 an article appeared in the Betuwe edition of regional newspaper Gelderlander. The aricle can be found here on the 'Swifts in the media'-page. On October 13th 2010 I wrote a piece about Swifts and the history of the facilities for birds in the Nije Hof project for the residents of the Nije Hof. I mailed the piece to my contact at Meuwsen BV who forwarded it to the residents and told me he'd already seen a bird using one of the nest bricks! A couple of days later I received a nice response from one of the residents who told me he was a member of the Bird Workgroup of Arnhem and would keep an eye on the nest bricks. He also told me he thought the bird my contact from Meuwsen BV had seen was a House Sparrow, but that he too had seen Swifts flying over the project during the summer, so who knows...

Hopefully to be continued!

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