Saving Wicklow's Swifts - Presentation & other resources

Saving Swifts Guide
BirdwatchIreland & Local Authority Heritage Officer Network

Saving Wicklow’s Swifts

We were delighted to host an online  talk on the Wicklow Swift project on 20th April 2021  as part of our ongoing biodiversity awareness activities, under the theme of ‘Spring into Nature’. We had a large  and engaged audience and a really interesting discussion. Below are some resources and links for those wishing to become Wicklow’s Swift Champions.

Background to the project;

Swifts are an iconic summer visitor to Ireland, arriving in early May following a long migration from southern Africa.  Slightly larger than a swallow they are a ‘site faithful’ bird, returning generation after generation to buildings in towns and villages throughout Ireland to nest and raise young. The population has suffered an alarming 40% decline however since 2008 and the  County Wicklow swift project, co-ordinated by the Heritage & Biodiversity  Office of Wicklow County Council is part of nationwide efforts to improve the prospects for this species

Wicklow County Council initiated the Wicklow Swift project in 2019 in association with Birdwatch Ireland in  order to:

  • gather baseline population data for swifts in Wicklow;
  • increase awareness about the conservation needs of this species
  • take practical actions to create new nesting habitat and enhance breeding  success

Looking for Wicklow’s Swift Champions.

Find out more about swifts and spread the word in your local area. We are encouraging greater awareness of swifts, and swift conservation among everyone. One of the real threats to this species is accidental destruction of nesting habitat during building renovation and restoration works. The species spend just three months of the year in Ireland and the careful timing of roof and other works, along with the retrofitting of nest boxes in suitable locations can make all the difference to the survival of this species. If you would like to know more  download a copy of ‘Saving Swifts’ publication below which is full of useful information. If you would like a hard copy  drop an e mail with your address to wicklowheritage@wicklowcoco.ie.

Get involved: To find out more about the project, to report potential nesting sites or for advice on installing nest boxes contact project officer Oran O Sullivan at oran@irishgardenbirds.ie. We have a number of nesting boxes that we are making available as part of this project to enhance locations where we there are  known colonies. A copy of Orans presentation can be downloaded below for those who missed the talk or want to know more.

Submit your swift records. Biodiversity Ireland is the online portal for storing and sharing information about Irelands flora and fauna. Swifts are one of a myriad of species for which  the Data Centre is seeking   records. Help us to update our Swift Map for county Wicklow by submitting your sightings, click HERE to get started!

Short Video on Swifts

View Birdwatch Ireland’s informative short (c 4 min) video on Swifts , featuring lots of footage of this bird in flight as well as audio of its characteristic  ‘screaming’. Link HERE

Downloads

Comments about this page

  • That is excellent news Mary, thanks for letting us know, this is a great biodiversity initiative. Fingers crossed the ‘bangers’ will like the new accommodation on offer. Looking forward to seeing the fruits of Bray Tidy Towns Group’s efforts over the skies of Bray in due course.

    By Deirdre Burns (08/06/2021)
  • Fantastic news for Swifts in Bray. Bray Tidy Towns and Swift Conservation Wicklow in conjunction with Jim Creamer and his team from Weathershield saw Swift nestboxes and calling systems erected at St. Patricks and St. Cronan’s schools in Bray.
    Each school now has 2 triple entry boxes. At this time of year birds who are currently non-breeders but will breed next year will be investigating potential nest sites. These are known as ‘bangers’ as they literally bang up against potential nest sites to see if they are occupied or not! Hopefully some of these birds will now discover the new nest boxes and breed there next year.
    The final box has been put up recently in Presentation College Bray. Thanks to Justin Ivory for driving this project.

    By Mary Hargaden (04/06/2021)

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