Proposed features/Bird Tower

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Swallows tower in Bernstadt (Southern Germany)
Bird Tower
Status: Draft (under way)
Proposed by: Phoks
Tagging: tower:type=birds_nest
Applies to: Node Area
Definition: A man made bird nesting aid mounted on a mast or tower.
Rendered as: 20x20
Drafted on: 2016-09-20 (by the Ulmer Alb mapping group)


A bird tower is a man made mast or tower equipped with one or multiple birds nests, serving as an artificial nesting aid, compensating the reduction of traditional nesting opportunities. The proposal is motivated by the sighting of swallows towers in Germany.

In German, for naming towers for swallows the terms Schwalbenhaus (swallows house) or Schwalbenturm (swallows tower) are used, as described in Wikipedia. [1]

The proposed tagging should be used only for explicit nesting aids. It is not intended to be used for other man made towers that "accidently" carry a bird's nest, e.g. like "misused" power towers and chimneys, or natural towers like trees or tall stumps.

A couple of bird towers have already been mapped in different ways:


None of the used tagging methods seems to be fully appropriate to tag a bird tower in general. So, a new combination of tags is proposed.


A single node using the tag tower=* should be used in this case
Many single nodes using the tag mast=* or an area may be used here

For mapping the tower itself, a generic mapping is proposed to be used. If a wooden or metal mast is utilized, the tag man_made=mast seems suitable. If multiple masts or other constructions have been used, the tag man_made=tower may be fitting better.

To tag the mast's or tower's feature of being an explicit carrier of birds nests, the tag tower:type=birds_nest should be used.

Nesting poles for storks provided by Caceres municipality (Spain).

Then, the bird nests should be specialized for the bird type, e.g. for barn swallows with birds_nest=barn_swallow or for common swifts[2] with birds_nest=common_swift or for white storks with birds_nest=white_stork. Other bird species may be tagged in a similar way. We should use the English common name for tagging, see List of bird by common name on Wikipedia.

Optionally, the material of the mast or tower can be tagged with material=*.

Optionally, a capacity=* can be given, as masts and towers with a different number of nests have been sighted.

Plate fixed at the mast
"Misused" towers should not be tagged as bird towers.

Additionally and also optionally, a name=* can be given. Remark: Naming should only be used, if the bird tower has a specific name, e.g. constituted on a label or plate fixed at the mast. A naming like "Swallows tower" is not wise.


Here is the summarized proposed tagging:

man_made=mast or man_made=tower
birds_nest=* (type of bird, obligatory)
material=* (material of the mast, optional)
capacity=* (number of mounted nests, optional)
name=* (specific name of the bird tower, optional)

As type a node or an area can be used. Node will fit best for standalone bird towers using a mast. Area fits well, if a conglomerate of towers has been deployed.


Here's an example for barn swallows:

name=Liberty City Swallow Hotel

As similar towers are being erected for swifts, a proper adaption may be:

name=Liberty City Swift Lodging

For white storks, the tagging may be


External Resources

The agricultural and environmental analysis company AGROFOR specialized on manufacturing swallows towers. The company states that around 300 of their masts have been deployed to date.[3]

The German newspaper Südwestpresse constitutes that some villages in southern Germany mounted swallows towers, and that another 20 towers are scheduled to be erected.[4]

The German Wikipedia article about swallows refers to swallows towers that are deployed since the 1980s in Germany.[5]


Please comment on the discussion page.


  1. [1] Article Schwalbenhaus, Wikipedia, retrieved on 2016-09-29
  2. [2] Article about swift towers, Lausitzer Rundschau, retrieved on 2016-09-29
  3. [3] Website about swallows protection, AGROFOR, retrieved on 2016-09-29
  4. [4] Newspaper article about swallows towers in southern Germany, Südwestpresse, retrieved on 2016-09-29
  5. [5] Wikipedia article about swallows, retrieved on 2016-09-29