Swifts 2024

Live view of four nest boxes

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Mon 6 May, box #1: Our first swift of the 2024 season arrived this evening at 8.11pm.

Wed 8 May: Swift arrived in #4 at 10am; another in #2 at 8.19pm. Total of three birds roosting tonight.

Fri 10 May: Swift arrived in #3, and partners for #2 and #4, so 6 birds in all roosting tonight.

Swifts pair for life but only spend time together for breeding, so when the later swift of a pair returns from Africa there is often a short period of squabbling as they try to work out if the other is their partner or an intruder into their nest site. Here is how the first swift of pair #4 greeted their partner when they came into the box for the first time this year:

Eight minutes later they had calmed down a bit; first swift was still a bit suspicious, but there was quite a lot of mutual preening:

However, by 10pm they seemed to be comfortable settling down to roost together:

Sat 11 May: one bird roosting in #1 last night, but two flew in together at 7.30am and roosted tonight. Although there was a pair in #2 last night, tonight only one roosted.

Sun 12 May: #3 partner arrived at 1.14pm but did not roost. It looks as if there is now a pair for every box, but only those in #4 are consistently roosting together.

Wed 15 May: Although all our birds have been seen in pairs since Sunday, last night was the first night with a roosting pair in every box.

Thu 16 May: Despite their squabbles on arrival (see 10 May), pair #4 have turned out to be the most devoted of all, spending more time together in the box than the other pairs over the last few days. Today they laid our first egg. I think that one of this pair is the first swift to nest here, in 2017, and acquired a new partner last year.

2024 – first egg

Sat 18 May: A second egg in #4

Mon 20 May: Third egg in #4.

Wed 22 May: I’m not sure what is going on with the pair in #1. There has only been one roosting on 5 of the 11 nights since the second returned, and yesterday there was never more than one in the box.

Temperature chart

This chart shows the maximum and minimum temperatures in box #2 this summer. Box #2 is usually the one that gets warmest, being inside the top west corner of the gable end.

Nestbox temperature chart