Three swifts in flight, spain

What are we doing with your sightings?

Every year we ask you to record sightings of low-level roof-height screaming parties of swifts and their nest sites.

Recording swift sightings

We ask for sighting records every year, even if swifts haven't nested in their usual nest site.

We need to know if birds aren’t returning to a site, if a site has been destroyed, as well as continued use of nest sites. At the end of each year, we share the data with the National Biodiversity Network.

We use this data to ask local authorities and developers to provide integral nesting opportunities into new developments in areas where swifts are present. We also try to protect existing nest sites from destruction.

In addition to utilising the data people input via the inventory, we keep in touch with the British Trust for Ornithology’s (BTO) nest box monitoring scheme to see if they have data on swift breeding success and food availability. If you have a nest box camera for swifts or any other species, you could share the data with the BTO to aid this research.

Download

Our first annual report outlining the data collated from the public and birding groups around the UK on common swifts. PDF, 350Kb.

National Swift Inventory Annual Report 2014

What you can do

Not only can you share your sightings with us, but encourage your friends and neighbours too. Ask them to look out for swifts or nest sites where they live and to let us know.

By involving your neighbours, you can build up your own picture of where swifts are in your local area.

Knowing where swifts are nesting may help pre-empt any nest destruction where it involves a derelict building. If you know swifts are present, you could notify the landowner and the local authority so they undertake any renovation or demolition outside the nesting season.

You may know people, including friends and neighbours who have birds nesting in their roofs. If they need to undertake repairs likely to affect nest sites you can advise the best way to do it legally and how to retain the nest after the work is complete.

You might also encourage them to increase the amount of nest space available.

If you see renovation work starting on a known nest site at any time of year, a friendly approach to the householder or building contractor to raise their awareness of nesting birds in the area can usually secure the future of the site. If done sensitively, it may also lead to more nest opportunities being provided.

If you are concerned about a site being lost to redevelopment or refurbishment, please look at our guidance on our threatened sites web pages.

How you can help

Swifts flying over rooftops

Get involved in writing letters and e-mails to support RSPB campaigns and use your voice for nature.