Celebrating a love for swifts

Jos Ashpole

Friday 1 March 2019

A flock of swifts

Swifts are truly amazing birds – they make incredible journeys, they spend the majority of their lives in the air and they inspire people.

Summer just wouldn’t be summer without swifts hurtling over rooftops, screaming as they go, and many people seem to recognise that. Over the last few weeks we’ve had the pleasure of sharing swift-focussed blogs from people from across a variety of disciplines and we hope to share more stories in the coming days and weeks. What unites these posts is a genuine concern for swifts and the desire to make sure that these birds have places to nest for years to come. It’s heartening to see that so many people, including an impressive number of voluntary groups, are doing their very best to ensure these birds remain a key component of our summer skies.

Swift conservation groups
Two of the many groups dedicated to swift conservation in the UK are Action for Swifts and Swift Conservation. These organisations provide advice on creating new homes for swifts and their websites are valuable resources if you’re interested in swift conservation – from providing guidance on installing swift boxes and attracting swifts using recordings of their calls, to inspirational stories about intrepid efforts to install new homes for swifts.

Closer to home, there are many groups dedicated to swift conservation across the country. If you’re interested in getting involved in a swift conservation group where you live, visit the Swifts Local Network map which shows where swift groups are operating. Many of these groups have their own websites where you can find out more and get involved. The network also has an email newsgroup which allows people to share their experiences and ideas. You can find out more here.

Celebrate Swift Awareness Week
Last June, the very first ‘Swift Awareness Week’ was held in the UK. Many local swift groups were involved – celebrating and raising awareness of the plight of the swift. Events ranged from talks and workshops to guided walks.

In 2019, Swift Awareness Week will run from 22nd to 30th June. It’s the perfect opportunity to learn more about swifts and get involved with efforts to help these amazing birds. The events will be displayed on this map, so keep checking it to see whether there’s an event planned near you. If you’re organising an event and would like to add it to the Swift Awareness Week map, you'll find more information here.

Swift blogs

It’s fantastic to see so many groups dedicated to helping this special bird – check out our other blogs for a showcase of inspiring people and initiatives:

Campaigning for swift boxes – Dick Newell, Action for Swifts

Magical moments with swifts – Peta Sams, Swifts Local Network

Oxford Swift City – Colm Ó Caomhánaigh, RSPB Oxford Swift City Project

Building new homes for swifts – Jeremy Hipkiss, Barratt Developments plc

Planning for swifts in Northumberland – David Feige, Northumberland County Council

Oxford Swift City at the Museum of Natural History – Chris Jarvis, Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Oxford developer hoping for swift return – Robin Swailes, Robin Swailes Design and Development

The Duchy of Cornwall giving swifts a home – Stephen Fitt, RSPB 

Giving swifts a home in Manchester – Annabel Rushton, RSPB

Swifts in a Tower – Andrew Lack, Swifts in a Tower book

Swift Species Champion - Kerry McCarthy MP


Find out more about giving swifts a home


Image credits: Ben Andrew

Tagged with: Topic: Swift