Sustainable UCL


UCL is hoping to become a Swift City

29 November 2016

Swift City


UCL have installed a new swift box on the School of Slavonic & East European Studies building on Taviton Street to help boost conservation efforts. 

Swifts are true aerial experts even amongst birds, flying to and from Africa to breed in the UK each year. Sadly they are in decline partly due to losing nest sites as modern construction tends to seal buildings more effectively, leaving them with less space under roof eaves to nest in. They are excellent flyers and can spend years in the air without landing but unfortunately this comes at a cost; the only way they can get airborne is by dropping several meters out of a nest box, they are unable to take off from the ground, and therefore have specific requirements for where they choose to nest. One way to counter this is to install nest boxes high up on buildings, giving swifts the space they require to drop into

Following the successful installation of swift nest boxes on the School of Pharmacy, we took the opportunity of having some scaffold up alongside the Christopher Ingold building to continue our swift city theme. It may take some time for them to arrive and make themselves at home but they remain very loyal to sites once they’ve bedded in. Swifts are a common sight above our buildings in summer and are regularly spotted during our biodiversity surveys and so we know they utilise the area and we now have the nest boxes to tempt them in. Hopefully in years to come UCL becomes well known for its breeding population of swifts.

We would like to thank the project team and staff working on the CIB window replacement project, and the contractor Sykes & Son Limited who installed the box for us. 

For more information on Swifts and how you can help them, visit RSPB's page on Swifts.