Sibford Swifts

A bird flying in the sky

Please help the swifts!

Our swifts spend their lives almost entirely in the air – sleeping, eating and bathing on the wing. They stay in Africa during our winter but at the end of April they return to the UK with just one thing on their minds – to mate and raise their young. They pair for life and return to the same site each year to lay and incubate their eggs. They like to live in houses and churches, squeezing through tiny gaps to nest inside roofs. But as more old buildings are renovated and gaps in soffits are closed up, swift nest sites are fast disappearing.

This, in part, has resulted in swifts being added to the Red List, the UK’s highest conservation priority, needing urgent action. By installing a swift brick in a wall, or putting up a nestbox, you could give a pair a place to rest and raise a family, as several folk in Sibford have already done.

For more information, please watch this short video about swifts and what you can do to help them.

A Sibford colony

Gable end of a house
The swift colony

These pages log the progress of a small swift colony of four nestboxes in Sibford Ferris. The nestboxes were installed as part of a house extension in time for the 2016 swift season. They are located inside the loft space with short tunnels from inconspicuous entrance holes in the north-facing gable end.

As in previous years, I shall be keeping a log of key events during this year’s breeding season; read it here. If you want more information about swifts in Sibford, please contact me at

You may also be interested in the logs for 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020 and 2019, or a peek into their lives right now via the nestbox webcams.

Would you like to know more about swifts? Read this fascinating article about The Greatest Bird On Earth.

Swifts have been declining in numbers – by over 50% in the last 20 years in the UK – but you can help by putting up nestboxes designed for them, as several Sibford residents have done. The RSPB has guidance for choosing and installing boxes.

Tim Huckvale

Swift, Swallow or Martin?

Swallows and house martins are often mistakenly identified as swifts. This RSPB guide will help you distinguish them.


Screeching swooping
sweeping the skies
whirling circles
whirring wings
diving and dancing
in perfect symmetry
here and gone
in seconds
of soaring

This poem was published in Sibford Scene #444 (June 2022) and is included here by permission of the author “AMA”.