Contribute to the Swift Survey

Thursday 13 April 2017
Vacancy type:
I've got less than an hour
At home

What we're looking for

Swifts are in trouble. Their breeding numbers plummeted by 47 per cent between 1995-2014, making them an amber-listed species on the list of Birds of Conservation Concern. Why is this happening? 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. 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.

The skills you need

You don't need to be a bird expert or even have loads of free time! Just 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. The best time to look is in June and July, around dusk on a warm, still evening, or early morning. And if you can see the nest, it's not a swift's! 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.

Your time

Up to 15 minutes
Spring and summer annually

What's in it for you?

If like us, you love nature and want to help, then getting involved with our mix and match volunteering opportunity is your chance to do something that really counts. Taking part is easy - once you've spotted swifts you can submit the details on our online form and the data will be added to existing records to help us build up a clear picture of swift populations around the country.

How to apply


Volunteering Co-ordinator, UKHQ Volunteering Development Department
Tel: 01767 680551


The RSPB is the country's largest nature conservation charity, inspiring everyone to give nature a home. Together with our partners, we protect threatened birds and wildlife so our towns, coast and countryside will teem with life once again. We also play a leading role in a worldwide partnership of nature conservation organisations.

Reference number 8276