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Conservation Research Institute


Swift Bird Conservation Project

Swifts take incredible migration journeys each year, but sadly they’re in trouble, with breeding numbers plummeting.

Why are their breeding numbers plummeting?

We believe loss of nest sites is at least partly responsible. These migrant birds return from their wintering grounds in Africa to the same spot each year to breed – usually in buildings, in gaps under roof tiles and eaves. 

Due to our tendency to seal up buildings during renovation or knock them down, swifts are returning to discover their nest site has gone or access is blocked.

Tell us about the swifts your see, or don't see! 

Your information will help our knowledge of swifts so that more nest sites can be provided and protected. Tell us where you see swifts and help us to help them.

What to look for: 

We'd like to find out where swifts are seen and where they're nesting. Watch out for screaming groups of swifts flying at roof-height (that means they're breeding nearby), or where you've seen swifts nesting – perhaps entering a roof or hole in a building.

You don't need to report sightings of swifts that are either very high in the sky, feeding over water bodies or away from villages, towns and cities. These birds could have travelled some distance and may not be local breeding birds.

When to look:

The best time to look for ‘screaming swifts’ is from late May to late July, around dusk on a warm, still evening, or early morning. You may see parties of birds flying around roof tops and, if you are lucky, see birds returning to nests under the roof line (hidden behind fascias and soffits), or beneath roof tiles. If you can see a nest structure, it's not a swift’s.

Record sightings, nest sites and screeching swifts here.