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

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Colossal Swift Colony in Clonmel

Swift chasing insects Kevin Collins

Earlier in the month, we teamed up with the Tipperary Heritage Office and Tipperary Branch of BirdWatch Ireland to go looking for Swifts in Clonmel.

Arriving at the venue for the talk, St. Mary’s GAA Centre, groups of Swifts could be heard screaming overhead before even getting out of the car. With the sun splitting the stones and hardly a breath of wind, It was shaping up to be a great evening for Swifts.

Sky full of Swifts Brian Caffrey

A group of keen Swift enthusiasts arrived for a talk on Swifts, including representatives from Clonmel Tidy Towns and Tipperary Tidy Towns. Following the talk we were guided by Kevin Collins of Birdwatch Ireland Tipperary Branch, towards South Tipperary General Hospital, which revealed a truly impressive site – a sky literally filled with screaming Swifts. A quick count (not an easy job, when dealing with Swifts!) estimated 100 Swifts visible in the air over the hospital and GAA Centre in a single count.

Dan Hogan, Kevin Collins & Malcom Turner observing the swifts
Brian Caffrey
Kevin, who has monitored this Swift colony for many years could point out one building in particular, ‘The Community Care Building’ which was the hub of the nesting colony – with up to 50 pairs nesting in this building alone. The unusual design of the ventilation gaps in the soffit of the building have created an ideal home for Swifts to nest.

The colossal Swift colony at South Tipperary General Hospital, Clonmel
Brian Caffrey
Feeding time, adult Swift with full "bolus" Kevin Collins

This is undoubtedly one of the largest colonies of Swifts in Ireland and a truly wonderful spectacle to watch and hear the aerial antics of the Swifts overhead on a summers evening.

We are still looking for your swift nest sites and if you are aware of any colonies be it of one or fifty breeding pairs we want to hear from you!

You can log your nest sights Here

or email us on