pic: Doug M Dodds

Help Survey Suffolk Swifts!

Well, those that are coming back from their African winter are probably all now back, so the summer can start properly.

Those lucky enough to have populations of Swifts screaming around the rooftops should consider themselves very lucky; there are large swathes of the country (and county) where there are none.

New development, renovations and an equally alarming decline in flying insects all play a part in decreasing numbers of the fastest bird in level flight, depriving them of nest sites and food.

There are many roles to play in helping to reverse this trend, and you are being asked to take part in the Suffolk Swift Survey over the next couple of months.

The Suffolk Wildlife Trust/Suffolk Bird Group project is being hosted by Suffolk Biological Recording Online (Suffolk BRO) and details can be found at:


The survey is requesting data in three areas: recording Swifts in flight (never easy!); recording traditional next sites, and records of Swifts using provided nest sites (where boxes have been erected).

The BRO site has links to other Swift-related web pages, including the RSPB, Swift Conservation and Action for Swifts.

If you have any confusion telling your Swifts from your Swallows and Martins (which are also in trouble!), you may like to check the BTO’s video highlighting the essential differences:


Those hip young things for whom a PC is an antiquated bit of kit may be interested in the Swift Mapper app for smartphones (Android/IOS). This also links to Swift recording, but there is no need to double-enter data, as the Suffolk survey will be accessing the Mapper numbers at the end of the season. The Swift Mapper will be very handy if you are on the road this summer though, as you can log numbers from wherever you end up.


Look out for further info on the ‘Swift Walk, Swift Pint’ events later in July, when we will be pounding the streets of Waveney Valley towns (Beccles, Bungay and hopefully Harleston) and counting Swifts once this year’s broods are airborne. Then having a pint.

To coincide with this, there will be a ‘just for fun’ Swift-related quiz on the WBC website. You can, of course, award yourselves a prize if you get any of it right…….

Edward Jackson will be giving a talk on the plight of Swifts at Needham Market on June 28th. Details at   (paste link into browser) https://www.suffolkwildlifetrust.org/events/2019-06-28-save-our-suffolk-swifts