Swifts are quintessentially urban birds and a symbol of the British summer. Unfortunately, they're in serious decline: the UK breeding population has decreased by 51% from 1995 to 2015.
This is largely due to a loss of suitable nest spaces as old buildings are renovated or demolished. New buildings often lack the crevices these charismatic birds use as homes.
The Oxford University Museum of Natural History has been home to many generations of swifts over the years, and the study of this particular population – dating from 1946 – is one of the longest ever continuous studies of its kind. For this reason, Oxford is the perfect place to host England’s first Swift City. David Lack's book Swifts in a Tower
, still the key text on swifts, was based on this population.
Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, we’re working alongside local communities and partner organisations to improve the prospects for our local swifts, whilst also giving people opportunities to connect to nature.
Have you taken action for swifts?
We’d love to know how you’ve helped swifts in Oxford. Please fill in our quick and easy form
– it’ll only take a couple of minutes and we don’t need your personal information.