Swifts diary

The colony of swifts that nests in the Museum tower has been the subject of a research study since May 1947. It is one of the longest continuous studies of a single bird species in the world, and has contributed much to our knowledge of the swift.


May 16 2022

They're back! Two weeks late but, nevertheless, there are swifts in our boxes. I think they were probably delayed by the storms in Spain and the cool wet week in the UK, but it's good to welcome them back to the colony and to hear them screaming around the tower. The first bird noted was in a box with a camera on 12 May. By this morning there were two adults sitting tight and at least 8 nests showing signs of occupation, whilst at least a dozen birds were screaming around the tower. Hopefully, they will quickly settle down to breed.


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The average numbers of young swifts ringed each year over the last 50 years are:


1963–72: 36.7


1973–82: 70.4


1983–92: 100.0


1993–2002: 99.2


2003–12: 81.1