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 and GMIT Mayo have erected 18 nest boxes and 11 of these can be viewed on the livestream cameras below. The aim of this project is to provide nest sites for Swifts to help grow the local population and to raise awareness about this amazing bird. In 2019, 10 of these nests were occupied by Swifts and 12 chicks were successfully reared.
GMIT Mayo student, Jaroslaw Majkusiak, is doing a Masters research project on the breeding biology of the Swifts at the nest box project using 24/7 recordings of the breeding season.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions at the GMIT Mayo Campus, we have made some changes to the live stream to facilitate the Master's Research on the swifts breeding biology.
The cameras are now being recorded onto digital video recorders to enable recording 24/7 from nest sites, which means all cameras are currently on a multi-screen setup.
Apologies for any disappointment in layout and quality we will try to improve this if possible.
Watch 2020 Live Streaming Below!
Swift Blog 2020
26 April 2020
Our first swift arrived on the evening of 25 April. This arrival is 10 days earlier than usual. You can see this swift at night in Box 7 of the multi-screen.
4 May 2020
The swifts have started to arrive in numbers across the country over the weekend. We now have four single birds on the multi-screen, one single bird in Box 12(camera 2) and a pair in Box 1(camera 3). For the pair in Box 1, this will be their 6th year of breeding and they are about nine years old - we are delighted they have both returned this year.
18 May 2020
The box on the top row with three eggs was previously screening on Camera 3. These are the swifts from Box 1. One of the birds seems to have gone missing for the past 24 hours. We are worried that the remaining bird may abandon the eggs. The next couple of days will be a long wait. The box in the middle row on the right is Box 8 and an egg was laid in this box this morning. Box 9 is on the bottom row, sitting on three eggs.
We hope to stream one box from this camera from 21 May onwards, it will be a new box not yet occupied by swifts.
This multiscreen shows Box 12 as a large image and they now have two eggs. The second egg was laid this morning. Boxes 13 onwards are new boxes, and we are hoping they'll be occupied by new breeding birds this year.
3 June 2020
There has been lots of drama over the past ten days. Box 1 was the oldest breeding pair. One bird went missing, and the three eggs they had laid were abandoned after a few days. The next day there were two birds in the nest box so we assume the remaining bird found a new mate. The exact same thing has happened in Box 12, which was the next oldest pair.
Box 9 is faithfully sitting on three eggs which should hatch any day now. The single birds that were in Boxes 4 and 7 have now found a mate. Box 2 has eggs, Boxes 5 and 11 have one egg each. We now have 10 breeding pairs to view here.
This is a new nest box set up in 2019, and since the 'bangers' (non-breeding birds) arrived last week, a bird has visited this box several times.
These five boxes were installed in Spring 2019. We did not include nest moulds but provided a few feathers. We are very excited to already have a pair in Box 18 and a single bird in Box 14 (they are there each night). Box 18 is the end of the terrace and swifts nearly always take up the end of terrace box first.
18 June 2020
Swifts are now using all but one of the original nest boxes installed in 2014. Boxes two and nine now have chicks with the adults feeding them throughout the day. On fine evenings the swifts are entering the nest boxes at around 10pm and stay there until about 9-10am the next morning, so it's a good time to see how many boxes are in use.
Boxes seven and eleven are incubating eggs, and we expect chicks in the next week. For an unknown reason, the other established pairs are not yet laying eggs, but it may be due to the cool north winds we've been having and thus a reduction in insect food such as midges.
There is the occasional visit to this box but no permanent residents.
A new pair has taken up residence in Box 18. They are not yet bringing in nest material, so there is no proper nest bowl. They may not breed this year. We will have to wait and see! There is the occasional visit to all the other boxes. The second wave of non-breeding birds should be arriving now so we may see more activity in the unused boxes.
25 August 2020
The season is coming to a close. Last night, in Box 12 there was 1 chick still to fledge and its parents.
Overview of the year :
Box 1 one bird of the original pair went missing. The remaining bird found a new partner and they have eggs and they had one chick. Box 2 had 2 chicks. Box 3 a new pair didn't breed. Box 4 is a new pair didn't breed. Box 5 lost two clutches of eggs and didn't breed. Box 6 a new pair formed this year and didn't breed. Box 7 reared 2 chicks.
Box 8 lost 2 clutches and didn't breed. Box 9 reared 2 chicks. Box 10 had 2 chicks but one died very early on so 1 chick reared. Box 11 reared 2 chicks. Box 12 had 2 chicks, one fledged a few days ago and the remaining chick will fledge soon.
Total : 11 chicks fledged so far with one to fledge soon. In 2019 there were 13 fledged chicks and we hoped for an improvement this year but it wasn't an easy year with cool temperatures in July, the peak feeding period.
25 August 2020 : This is a new nest box set up in 2019. A pair was roosting in there for several weeks and we hope they'll return next year to breed.
25 August 2020 : These 5 boxes were installed in Spring 2019. We did not include nest moulds but provided a few feathers because we want to observe how successfully the swifts will build their own nests from nest material gathered in flight. All of the boxes were visited by single birds and pairs so we'll have to wait for 2021 to see which boxes have been chosen for breeding. Last night there was still one adult roosting in Box 15.
For further information on Swift Conservation visit www.swiftconservation.ie
GMIT Save Our Swifts Project
Email: Lynda Huxley