Bristol Swift Nest Records


The RSPB estimate that there has been a 51% decrease in their breeding numbers in the UK between 1995 and 2015 has placed them on the Amber List for bird species causing concern. The Breeding Bird Survey records all birds, but the difficulty in trying to record swift numbers accurately is that they are quick and elusive. We undertook a Bristol Swift Survey 2015 and Bristol Swift Survey 2016 whilst the RSPB Swift Survey was being re-developed. As from 2017 please send all Bristol swift nest site locations and low level screaming party sightings to RSPB. We would also like to know of swift nest site locations in Bristol, so please contact us with as much information about location as possible.

Bristol Swift Nest Site Locations 2016

The results of the survey of swift nests in Bristol in 2016.

Bristol Swift Nest Site Locations 2015

As a result of this survey and by doing our own research we were able to confirm over 30 swift nest sites in Bristol in 2015.

How to locate swift nest sites

The presence of a low level screaming party indicates a nest site nearby, normally within a few houses, so here are a few tips to help you locate swift nests;

1. Most swifts will be either nesting under the roof tiles or behind the fascia/soffit boards. Pay particular attention to the first row of tiles parallel to the gutter; look out for any tiles that are slightly raised compared to the rest. Check the fascia/soffit boards for any small holes or cracks, especially those with any white bird droppings immediately under or around them. You’ll be surprised how small an opening a swift can squeeze through <30mm.

2. Keep a close watch at the beginning and end of each screaming party circuit. This is normally the time when swifts enter their nests. Sometimes the returning swifts are followed right up into the nest entrance by others who then veer away at the very last moment.

3. As the swifts scream pass, listen and look at where their calls seem to be the loudest. The building closest to the loudest calls is a very good indication of a nest inside.

4. Windy days in May and early June are the best times to see swifts returning with nesting material, especially in the morning. Try to spot where the swift is going.

5. Just as it gets dark, visit the same location where you’ve seen a screaming party. Dusk is the time when swifts return to roost, sometimes they scream when entering but mostly they fly in silently.

6. During late June and July breeding adults will be returning every hour or so with food for their young. They are normally on their own and fly silently and direct, occasionally though they are ‘chased’ in by small groups of noisy non-breeders who tend to hang about breeding colonies at this time of year.

Remember please send your Bristol swift nest sight information to Bristol Swifts via our Contact page.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Glanville. All Rights Reserved.