Greengage created a swift call system which was trialled at the Canary Wharf Estate as part of their Biodiversity Action Plan objectives.
It’s acknowledged that the playing of swift calls near to newly created nest sites can improve the chances of use. Canary Wharf Group set themselves a number of targets for 2019 in their BAP, including the provision of enhanced nesting opportunities for birds, and specifically swifts, being one of their BAP priority species. Newly installed swift boxes were therefore erected at site allowing the trial of an accompanying swift call system.
No ‘off the shelf’ products are available meaning the system had to be assembled from scratch. Guidance from the Swift Conservation Trust was used as a basis for the approach, with a solar panel and back up car battery used to power a small amplifier and speakers. Swift calls were played for 4 hours from an hour before sunrise and in the lead up to sunset everyday between May and July.
The swift call system is powered by a 12V deep cycle car battery which runs to an amplifier housing an SD card containing audio files of swift calls. Between the battery and amplifier, a 12V digital timer is installed. This is programmed to allow current to flow to the amplifier (and the rest of the system) an hour before the average sunrise time during the installation period. The amplifier plays the swift call audio file through a pair of tweeter speakers until the digital timer cuts power to the system after the preprogramed time.
Should the battery require charging, a 20W solar panel can be installed to charge the battery, with a solar charge controller preventing overload and damage to the battery.