RSPB

Welcome to the RSPB Swift Survey!

The purpose of this survey is to record locations of swift nest sites around the UK. This information can then be used by local authority planners, architects, ecologists and developers to find out where swift hotspots are located around the country and therefore mitigate to protect breeding swifts during building development. This conservation planning tool plays an important role in reversing the decline of this charismatic migrant bird.

Please note, swift records submitted to the swift survey during previous years have been retained and are making a difference for swift conservation.

If entering or viewing swift records for Northern Ireland, please ensure the map settings are set to Northern Ireland in the menu tab, then enter a "place name" in the search tool on the map.

If entering or viewing swift records for Great Britain, please ensure the map settings are set to Great Britain in the menu tab, then enter a "place name" or "postcode" in the search tool on the map.

If you have any issues, please consult our FAQ page.If you don't find what you are looking for there, you can email us at swifts@rspb.org.uk

Thank you for your contribution.

Frequently Asked Questions
You don’t need to know the grid reference of the location to enter a record. After entering the postcode into the search field in the top left corner of the map, please pin point the exact location of your record by clicking on the precise point of the map, which will display as a small grey square. The ‘Current National Grid tile’ will then be automatically entered for the location of your record.
You don’t need to know the grid reference of the location to enter a record. After entering the postcode into the search field in the top left corner of the map, please pin point the exact location of your record by clicking on the precise point of the map, which will display as a small grey square. The ‘Current National Grid tile’ will then be automatically entered for the location of your record.
After entering a postcode, you can precisely pin-point the location on the map by clicking on the position with your cursor. A small grey square will then appear which can be moved around.
Swifts flying at around roof height are likely to be nesting nearby, or juveniles prospecting for available nest sites. We do not ask for sightings of very high flying swifts for this survey, as these are often feeding swifts and due to their habit of flying very long distances each day to find food, they are unlikely to be nesting nearby. Similarly, we do not require sightings of swifts flying over water bodies, such as lakes, rivers, etc as they will also be feeding and may not be nesting in the surrounding area.
The most important thing we need to know is that there are nesting swifts nearby and ideally how many. Therefore, once you have told us about a group of low flying swifts at a specific location, you don’t need to tell us again. However, if you see MORE swifts at the same location on another occasion, please do enter this as a new record with the higher number. This way we should capture the maximum number of nesting swifts.
Records are displayed in two separate layers, the default of which is swifts seen at nesting sites. If you want to view records of swifts seen flying/screaming overhead, please click on the menu button on the right hand side of the map and change the record type.
Please zoom in to the map fully at the 1m level in order to see all the details available about a nest site record (e.g. type of building where nest is situated, age of building, etc).
After selecting the ‘View Records’ tab, please click on the menu button on the right hand side of the map. From here you can alternate between maps for Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
To download records, please select the ‘View Records’ tab, then click on the menu bar on the right hand side of the map. At the bottom of the menu is ‘Click here to export data’. Click on this to download an excel spreadsheet of all swift records entered into the inventory so far.
Any records submitted to the swift survey prior to 2016 have been retained and can be viewed via ‘View Records’. All records have been passed to the National Biodiversity Network (NBN) and are open to anyone to view and download.
Yes. The accessibility of the survey should only be affected by the user’s mobile network and signal available at the time.
Swifts declined by an alarming 47% in the UK between 1995-2014, making swifts an ‘amber-listed’ species on the list of Birds of Conservation Concern. That’s an average rate of decline of 3% per year.
Although the keys drivers responsible for this dramatic decline are not completely clear, the RSPB believes loss of nest sites in buildings is a factor. Swifts are migrant birds which are nest site faithful, returning from their wintering grounds in Africa to the same spot each year to breed - usually in buildings, in gaps under roof tiles, eaves and in gable ends. As we renovate, repair, re-roof and even demolish buildings, nest sites are being destroyed or access blocked.
Only by having a better understanding of where swifts are nesting can we protect swift colonies and enhance them. By telling us where you see screaming parties of swifts or swift nest sites, these records are then plotted on a map and can be accessed by local authority planners, developers and their consultant architects and ecologists to find out the locations of swift hotspots. This conservation planning tool enables the construction industry to make more informed decisions during development, to better protect and enhance swift colonies through mitigation.