Swift Live Streaming

Save our Swifts Project with live streaming from swift nestboxes at GMIT Mayo campus

Swifts Live Streaming

Save our Swifts Project
The swift is a bird of conservation concern in Ireland due to loss of breeding sites.

Swifts nest mainly in tall buildings, usually under the eaves.  It is known that swifts nest in Castlebar and in particular at the GMIT Mayo campus.

The Green Campus team at GMIT Mayo has erected twelve nest boxes to provide nest sites for swifts with the aim of raising awareness of the nesting requirements of the birds.  

The project is linked with environmental modules on GMIT's heritage and outdoor education courses, and demonstrates to students on construction courses how wildlife can be affected by building renovation work.


2015  Live Streaming

Swift updates from Lynda Huxley, GMIT Mayo Green Campus

18 August 2015

Both of the swift chicks from Box 1 have now successfully fledged.  I was lucky to see the first chick fledge at 13:15 on 13th August - a lovely sunny day.  Chick number two fledged at 21:40 on 16 August.  That might seem strange for a chick to fledge just as it's nearly dark but this is a common time of day for swifts to fledge.  So, our skies are now empty of swifts and we won't see them again until May 2017.  Thanks for following our swift chicks, we hope you'll tune in again next spring.

27 July 2015

We have adult swifts spending the night in Boxes 5, 11 and 12.  We also have the parents and chicks in nest Box 1 that are due to fledge in the middle of August.  So, we now have 4 pairs of swifts using our 12 nest boxes so if we get a good summer next year we could have four breeding pairs. 

3 July 2015

The chicks in Box 12 have both very sadly died within 24 hours of each other.  There was no apparent reason other than that the weather during that week was very cold.  The parents will return to the nest each night until they leave in August but are unlikely to lay any more eggs as they wouldn't have time to rear the young.  On a happy note, the eggs in Box 1 have hatched. 

23 June 2015

The two eggs in box 12 (camera 4) have now hatched and the parents are feeding them once every 2 hours at the moment.  An egg was laid in Box 11 (camera 1) this morning but was knocked out of the nest and out of view.  They may lay a second egg tomorrow but if they do then the chicks wouldn't fledge until late August which is very late as most swifts have left Ireland by mid-August.  It's going to be interesting to see how things develop.

15 June 2105

The pair in Box 1 (Camera 2) have now laid eggs but this is very late and the chicks won't fledge until mid-August.  A pair has just returned to Box 11 (Camera 1) and they may lay eggs.  The rest of the boxes are being visited by birds and the best time to see this is in the evening. Sadly found a dead swift on the ground yesterday - no indication what it died of.

9 June 2015

The pair in Box 12 are now incubating 2 eggs, the eggs were laid on 28 May.  An unusual event took place in Box 12 last week-end.  The weather was cold and wet and a third bird joined the pair for the night.  There was no fighting and this bird was cuddled up to the pair.  Our thoughts are that it might be one of last year's chicks. We hope that the pair in Box 1 will also lay eggs this year.  The bangers (young non-breeding birds) have just arrived and are holding 'screaming parties' in the courtyard which is a very exciting spectacle.  Two birds, behaving like a pair, are visiting Box 5 on a regular basis.

19 May 2015

The pair in Box 12 (Camera 4) seem to be well established and have added lots of new nest material (mostly dried grass).  Because swifts don't land on the ground all their nest material is gathered on the wing.  The strong winds we are experiencing at the moment are lifting lots of bits of grass into the air which is a great help to the swifts.  We expect this pair to lay eggs in the next few days.  In Box 1 we had two birds for a couple of nights but for the last few nights there has been just one bird and we are little worried that something may have happened to one of the pair.  We'll just have to keep our fingers crossed that it reappears.  On the multiscreen view (Camer 3) we've seen single birds in at least two boxes each night which is an interesting development.  We believe there are still more birds to arrive so keep watching!


11 May 2015

Our first pair of swifts has returned.  The pair in Box 12 (camera 4) can be seen in the box at night as well as one bird in Box 1.  The weather has been very difficult this month and has delayed the arrival of many swifts so we hope to see more birds arrive in the next week.

5 May 2015
"Our swifts normally return on 6 May so we are hoping that tomorrow they will arrive.  On 17 April, I visited Lough Neagh in Co. Antrim and saw 40 swifts feeding on the prolific numbers of Lough Neagh fly.  I wonder if most of Ireland's swifts go there to feed up afer their long journey from Mozambique / Malawi before going to their breeding site.  This year we have 3 students from the BA (Hons) in Heritage Studies monitoring the activity in our nest boxes.  It will be fascinating to see what observations they make regarding feeding frequency of chicks as we are on the western most location of the swift's breeding range."

Further Information: 

Notes on Setting up a Swift Nest Box Project (PDF)

We are Swifts - We are in Trouble (PDF Booklet)

GMIT Mayo Green Campus Co-ordinator
Lynda Huxley
Tel: +353-94-9043101
Email: Lynda Huxley

Camera 1

Camera 2

Camera 3

Camera 4