Thursday, 4 May 2017

2017 Swift Season Begins!

Yesterday was a normal morning in the BirdWatch Ireland regional office in Banagher when at 11:30ish Brian Caffrey and I sprang in tandem from our office chairs as we both heard that signature screaming sound!

Irelands Special Swifts Video YouTube

"Swifts" I shouted, startling the other members of staff working away quietly at their desks! It wasn't our first Swift of the year but it was the first heard in Banagher. Swift sightings had come in via Irish Birding since as early as April 20th when 3 were spotted in Dundalk that evening by Alan White. We waited patiently for our first Banagher sightings which always herald the start of the Swift survey season for us as it suggests the first birds have reached the most inland parts of the country.

Common Swifts Paulina Skoczylas

By the end of May we will have our first Swift survey visits complete, we are looking forward to discovering and recording new Swift colonies around the country. This year our funded projects take us to new OPW sites in Tipperary, Carlow, Kildare and the Aran Islands as part of the OPWs ongoing Heritage Sites Swift Survey. We are also coordinating an entire county Offaly survey on behalf of Offaly County Council with the help of local birdwatchers and resident citizen scientists.

Swift Survey at OPW Ennis Friary 2016 Brian Caffrey

Once again this year we are asking all of our blog followers to get involved and submit your Swift nest sites to our online Mapping Tool, you are also able to view past records there.

Online Swift Mapping Tool 

Finally we want to hear about your local Swift colony - where it is, how big is it, how long has it been there? Tell us about local Swift projects and surveys and we will share them right here on the seasonal Swift blog!

For more info or to get in touch, email us (Ricky/Brain) at:

Friday, 13 January 2017

Hang In There....It won be long till they are back!

Life On The Wing is a seasonal Blog. We look forward to publishing new Swift blogs during the 2017 season.
Photo Arthur Tabor

If you have an interesting Swift related story or a Swift project on the go please let us know we would love to share the information on our blog pages.

Email info and photos to:

Friday, 16 September 2016

Build It and They Will Come

In June BirdWatch Ireland launched a new online Swift colony mapping tool made possible by funding from the Heritage Council. 

The people of Ireland responded in force to our call for records and over the summer months and the relatively short swift nesting season we received well over 200 individual online submission from all across the country detailing swift nest sites and colonies. In addition, individuals and BirdWatch Ireland branches submitted a number of bulk county records gathered during the same period. For example, In Kildare the BirdWatch Ireland branch members managed to survey a total of 24 towns and villages in the county, an incredible effort.

All these records together with other historic records will be accumulated and combined over the coming weeks and months and we will report back on the final tally later in the year.

Some of the swift records from all over the country

Due to the ongoing challenges swifts face, it is paramount to this species survival on the island of Ireland that we continue to identify their nesting locations in order to protect them. Make sure to go to the online map and submit any records you have from the past season, it’s not too late, so dust off your notebooks and dig out those records and get them into us.

You can find the online mapping tool here:

Lastly a huge thanks to all who have taken the time survey your patch for swifts and submit your records. 

More news from us soon

BirdWatch Ireland Swift Project Team