Swifts log 2023

Sat 6 May, nestbox #4: Our first swift of the 2023 season arrived this evening at 7.27pm, followed by another in #3 at 8.35pm.

Second swift of 2023


Sun 7 May: A swift returned to #1 at 8.53pm.

Mon 8 May: A swift entered #2 at 5.29am, joined by its partner at 7.15pm. Two swifts entered #3 together at 10.43am; unfortunately the camera was not working for a while overnight, so all I can say is that the partner must have arrived last night after 7pm or earlier this morning.

Tue 9 May: Two swifts in #1 from 8.46pm.

Wed 10 May: Only one swift roosted in #3 last night and left at 8.37am this morning. A pair entered at 9.04am and left together at 9.18am; they reappeared together at intervals up to 9pm, but only one was visibly roosting overnight.

Thu 11 May: The unusual behaviour of the pair in #3 continues. After being absent overnight, the partner returned for a cuddling session at about 7.30pm for an hour or so but again did not stay the night. Still no sign of a partner for our first 2023 swift in #4.

Fri 12 May: Same behaviour in #3 as yesterday: a second swift came in for an hour’s cuddle at about 7.30pm, but only one stayed the night.

Sat 13 May:

Sun 14 May: Only one swift roosting in #1 last night, but the partner returned before 7am this morning. On the other hand, the partner who had been missing from #3 for the previous four nights roosted there last night and was gone before 7am this morning.

Wed 17 May: The pattern of pairs in #1, #2 and singles in #3, #4 roosting overnight  continued until last night, when the only single was #4. At about mid-day today a pair came into #4 together and cuddled for half-an-hour, but there was again only one roosting. However, it does mean that the colony probably now has its full quota of four pairs.

Thu 18 May: I wondered why the pair in #2 stayed in their box all morning on such a nice day, but at 12:42 all became clear when they went out together, leaving our first egg of the season in the nest. No doubt I’m being a tad anthropomorphic, but it’s nice to think that the male stayed in to support the female at the “birth”.

First egg of 2023


Fri 19 May: Last night there was a roosting pair in each box for the first time this year.

Sat 20 May: Drama! An intruder entered #2 at about 7pm and, it appears, pushed the egg out of the nest. But within a couple of minutes it was seen off by the resident pair after a violent fight lasting 3 minutes. The timelapse video below, with frames 10 seconds apart, captures the event.


Sun 21 May: A second egg in #2; the first one remained outside the nest until I put it back while the pair were out at 5.30pm this evening.

Mon 22 May: an egg each in #4 and #3.

If you have been following this (b)log, you may be interested in an evening event in Stratford-on-Avon on Saturday 17 June: Swifts and the Story of Life on Earth at which “Eminent authors & artists celebrate Swifts, explain their decline, & the way they symbolise the connections underlying all life on Earth.”

Fri 26 May: Egg counts last night in boxes 1 – 4: 1, 3, 2, 2 – eight in all.

Sun 28 May: Full complement of three eggs in each box after a third egg appeared in #1 today.

Tue 30 May: All four pairs were very dutiful in their incubation duties today, keeping their eggs covered at all times and through parental changeovers, so that I got no more than an occasional glimpse of an egg when reviewing the camera footage. See the video below for an example changeover.