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 Culture & Environment and Outdoor Education courses, and demonstrates to students on construction courses how wildlife can be affected by building renovation work.


2017  Live Streaming

Swift updates from Lynda Huxley, GMIT Mayo Green Campus


14 August, 2017 (Last update for the season):

We are delighted to report that all 9  chicks have successfully fledged.  The last one fledged on 3 August. 

The parents of the chicks and the other pairs that didn’t rear any chicks (total 7 pairs) have returned to the nest boxes each night to protect their nest sites but in the day they’ve been off feeding to gather strength for their journey to Southern Africa. 

However, gradually they have been leaving one by one.  The adults tend to leave separately and don’t stay together on migration so they are only together as a pair when they are in Ireland. 

As of last night, only five birds were in boxes so nine have already left us for this year. 

Thanks for following our amazing swifts.  We hope you’ll join us and the swifts again in 2018.


31 July, 2017 :

The chicks from Camera 3 (Box 1) have now fledged and those from Camera 2 (Box 11) and Camera 4 (Box 5) will also soon be fledging. 

These chicks will not return to the nest boxes nor will they be fed by the adults after fledging.  The adults will return to sleep the boxes at night for a week or so after the chicks have fledged in order to protect their nest sites. 

By mid-august most of our Swifts will be gone and on their way to Africa. 

They’ll spend all their time on the wing until they return to their nest sites next May.  The skies will seem empty until then. 

We hope you’ve enjoyed following our Swifts at GMIT Mayo Campus this year.  It’s been a good year with 9 chicks reared.


13 July, 2017:

Camera 4 was the action from Box 12 but unfortunately the camera has stopped working.  The chicks were very close to fledging but we'll miss that event. 

The Box you can now see on Camera 4 is Box 9 where the bird is still incubating one egg which should hatch in a week. 

Camera 3 has action from Box 1 and the chicks will fledge in a week or so. 

Camera 2 has the two chicks from Box 11 and they are growing very well.  It's good feeding weather so all chicks are continuing to grow well.


4 July, 2017:

Camera 1 : 3 July - Top row left hand box have one chick that is now a week old.  Middle row second box was on Camera 2 but moved to here today, this pair are still incubating one egg that was laid last week. There’s a bird nest building in the top right box but we’ve not yet seen this bird at all, it is probably looking for a mate and will breed next year.

Camera 2 : 3 July - This pair were moved from middle row of Camera 1 yesterday.  They have two chicks which are now a week old so will be interesting to watch the chicks grow over the next five weeks.

Camera 3 : 3 July - The three chicks are growing week and doing wing exercises and push ups.  They should fledge in the next week to ten days.

Camera 4 : 3 July - These three chicks are a few days older than the ones on Camera 3 so will probably fledge a few days earlier.


14 June, 2017:

Good news!

We have chicks in Box 1 (camera 3) and Box 12 (camera 4). 

It seems that all three eggs in Box 12 have hatched but not sure how many in Box 1. 

Four other pairs are incubating eggs with hatching in a couple of weeks.


9 June, 2017:

Life has settled down a little and all pairs are now incubating eggs of varying numbers. 

The weather is windier so nest material of grass and feathers is constantly being brought in and stuck down with saliva to make a firmer cup nest. 

The eggs being incubated on  Camera’s 3 and 4 should hatch early next week. 

We started to play the attraction calls from a small speaker near the boxes last week and this has brought in a new bird which is testing out the top right box on Camera 1.


31 May, 2017:

This year there is a lack of the usual West of Ireland windy days and the Swifts are struggling to bring in enough nest material to build up their nests.  This is resulting in eggs being knock off nests.   We are  not able to access the nests to replace the eggs to the nest because this would involve hiring a scissor lift and cause too much disturbance to the pairs incubating eggs. 

Camera 1
31 May : The mate of the bird in the top left nest returned a week ago and they have been busy adding nest material.  They should be laying an egg very soon.  The pair in the top middle nest unfortunately knocked their two eggs off the nest.  This is a common problem with Swifts and something that was recorded by David Lack when he did his research at the Oxford University Tower, see ‘Swifts in a Tower’ for more information.  This pair have since been adding nest material and should lay two more eggs soon.  We’ve changed the camera wires and the pair in the  bottom left nest are now the pair that could previously be seen on Camera 2 who have knocked out two possibly three eggs. 

Camera 2 :
31 May : We have changed the camera wires around and this is now the pair that could be seen on the bottom left of the multi-screen.  They were incubating 2 eggs but yesterday they knocked out one egg and are now incubating just one.

Camera 3 :
31 May : This pair are still incubating 3 eggs  and will continue for another 10 days.  They’ve been adding nest material on windy days. 

Camera 4 :
31 May : This pair are still incubating 2 eggs and will for another week.  They’ve also been adding nest material.


24 May, 2017:

Lots of activity at the GMIT boxes this morning, 24 May.

The partner of the bird in the top left box of the multiscreen returned during the night which is a great relief.

Duetting and agitation this morning at the nest entrances so think the 'bangers' have arrived (non-breeding birds).

Camera 1 - two pairs have 1 egg each. Camera 2 - pair have laid two eggs but knocked them out of the nest, however, hope they will try to lay a replacement clutch.  Camera 3 - sitting on 3 eggs.  Camera 4 - sitting on 2 eggs. 

*** Will hold Swift Watch at GMIT in mid-June, exact date to be decided - watch this space ***


16 May, 2017:

The first eggs have been laid!

Box 1 (Camera 3) and Box 12 (Camera 4) each have one egg.  They are experienced pairs - this is their 3rd breeding season.  

We have 6 pairs returned in total which is very good news and we hope to attract at least one more pair to the nest boxes this year.


8 May 2017:

The 2017 Swift season is underway and we are already seeing screaming groups around the campus courtyard. 

  • The pairs arrived back in Box 1 (Camera 3) and Box 12 (Camera 4) on 5 May. 
  • There is also one bird in Box 10 (this is on the multiscreen of Camera 1). 
  • The pairs in Box 1 and 12 are in their 3rd breeding year. 

We hope to have 6 breeding pairs this year, fingers crossed.  We'll keep you updated as the season progresses.


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