Save Our Swifts project

Save our amazing swifts

This project is not currently active but we are occasionally putting up new Swift boxes to continue helping to halt the decline in our swift population.

About the project

Swifts are one of our most iconic birds. Arriving to breed in our buildings in spring, they spend only three months here before migrating back to sub-saharan Africa. However, the number of swifts returning to the UK each year is declining rapidly, with a 50% decline in numbers in the last 20 years. The reasons for this decline are complex, but the one thing we can do something about is the loss of nesting places as we seal up our houses and roofs so there are no longer holes for them to nest in.

In the Blackwater Valley we should be blessed with swifts. Our Valley is a long stretch of lakes, ponds and wild spaces from years of gravel extraction providing the insect populations the birds need for feeding. At the same time we have our towns alongside to provide the nesting places.

Our project objectives are to record the swift population in the Blackwater Valley and to increase the number of swifts breeding here. We plan to do this by providing suitable nesting sites, in the hopes of encouraging swifts to make the Blackwater Valley their home.

How you can help

Swifts are largely colonial; they like to nest close to each other, rarely alone. So, if we are to increase numbers we need help with the tasks below.

Task 1: find existing swift colonies

Task 2: create new nest sites

  • make swift boxes - these often need to be made to fit particular spaces or to replicate existing nests
  • make swift callers - these attract the birds to the new sites. They consist of an MP3 player with a speaker attached
  • install the swift boxes and callers

Map of swift sites in our Valley

Use the icon on the left of the map title to see the key and more details.

Project news

Linking populations in Frimley Green

April 17, 2019

We worked with SC Johnson to create a new nest site at their Surrey premises

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A swift tower for Shalford

March 28, 2019

A project inspired by our recent talk - artist Will Nash unveils his new design

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Boxes in the belfry at St John’s, Lower Hale

November 7, 2018

We took another big step in providing swift homes, high up in the bell tower.

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Enticing swifts to Tice’s Meadow

August 8, 2018

A new tower provides homes for swift families when they return from Africa.

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