ATU Mayo Save Our Swifts Project live streaming from our Swift Nest Boxes.
The Swift is a red-listed bird of conservation concern in Ireland because of dramatic decline in their numbers mainly due to the loss of breeding sites. They mostly nest in nooks and crannies in old stone buildings in our urban areas and when these old buildings are renovated or demolished this destroys the nest sites.
In 2012, the Green Campus team at ATU Mayo established a nest box project with 12 nesting compartments. In 2019 this project was expanded to provide a total of 18 nesting compartments. In 2022, 12 of these nesting compartments had breeding pairs of Swifts. Each nesting compartment contains a camera so that breeding activity can be streamed and recorded.
The recordings from several breedings seasons were analysed by ATU Mayo student, Jaroslaw Majkusiak, for his Masters by Research “The Breeding Biology of the Common Swift in Ireland”. Jaroslaw graduated in November 2022.
The 2023 breeding season of 4 breeding pairs can be watched 24/7 on the Live Streaming Below!
Swift Blog 2023
17 May: the Swifts are slow to return this year. We now have 3 breeding pairs returned and 5 single birds that are awaiting their mates. The pair in Box 8 (stream 2) have laid their first egg yesterday and we expect egg no. 2 on 18 May.
26 May: The season is progressing well. We now a pair in each of the streamed nest boxes. There was drama in nest box 8 on Monday morning at 8.30am. An intruder entered the nest box and this resulted in a big fight. During the fight the eggs were knocked off the nest. Thankfully one of the adults managed to put one of the eggs back on the nest and they have continued to incubate that egg. Box 2 had one egg laid on Wednesday and a second egg should have been laid this morning. Nest boxes 12 and 16 need to build their nests before they lay any eggs.
19 June: Chicks are starting to emerge from the eggs. Nest box 2 has the largest family with three chicks that are about a week old. The Swifts tiny chicks are kept covered by one of the Adults for about ten days to keep them warm. We will soon get to see some of the chicks as both adults start to bring in food for them. If all eggs hatch successfully there'll be 18 chicks this year. There's a new pair for this year in Box 15 but they are unlikely to breed this year.
24 July: The past 24 hours has seen the fledging of our first chicks. One chick has fledged from Boxes 2 and 9 leaving one remaining chick in each nest which will fledge in the coming days. The chicks in Boxes 4 and 7 are busy exercising ready for their first flight. Meanwhile in Box 16 the chick is just a couple of weeks old and will only be fledging in mid-August. You’ll be amazed to learn that when a Swift chick fledges from the nest it is entirely on its own, the parents no longer feed it and it will be flying non-stop for up to 2 or 3 years until it has found its own nest site.