Swifts Diary 2016

This year the first swift was spotted around the Museum tower on Wednesday 4 May. Details of nesting pairs and their chicks will be updated week by week through the summer months. More about swifts in Oxford

  • 4 May 2016
    They're back! A screaming party of 12 swifts was buzzing around the Museum tower this morning. One swift was spotted checking out a nest box.
  • 9 May 2016
    There is evidence of occupation in at least five nesting boxes.
  • 16 May 2016
    A week of cold nights, but warm sunny days with occasional showers seems to have encouraged the birds to start breeding. We have 14 active nests with a total of 10–12 eggs. This morning there were three pairs occupying boxes and five incubating adults.
  • 23 May 2016
    There are 18 active nests at present. All the nests have adults incubating so it is impossible to count the eggs. There were 19 adults present in total, including four pairs. The weather this week has been mild with some rain.
  • 30 May 2016
    There are now 23 active nests. The weather this morning is cloudy with a cool northerly wind. Again, all the nests have adults incubating, so it is impossible to count the eggs. There were 34 adults present in total, including 11 pairs.
  • 6 June 2016
    There are now 24 active nests. After a cool week, the weather turned warm at the weekend. Today there were 18 nests with adults sitting, including one pair. There were 15 eggs visible.
  • 13 June 2016
    A warm and sunny week was followed by a cold, wet weekend. There are now 27 active nests. Today there were 25 adults sitting and nine of these were pairs. Many adults were wet, so had been feeding or gathering food. At least 20 young have hatched, and a minimum of 16 eggs are still being incubated.
  • 20 June 2016
    Following a week of sunshine and showers, we now have 25 active nests. The camera is still on the same box as before but has been re-positioned after slipping last week. Today there were four pairs and 13 solo adults sitting in nest boxes. It has rained heavily during the night and this morning. The count today found at least 17 eggs and 30 young. Most young are well advanced with flight feathers breaking out of pin sheaths. Two nests have failed: one no longer has an egg, and the swift in another did not lay.
  • 27 June 2016
    It has been a warm and humid week with occasional thunderstorms and showers. Winds have been light, and the swifts have enjoyed the conditions. We still have 25 nests, and there are at least 32 young and 15 eggs.
  • 4 July 2016
    Following the cold wet week, one youngster and one adult have died, and three nests (with one egg apiece) have been abandoned. However, there are still 21 active nests. There are 36 young, 20 of whom were ringed today, and there are a further six eggs still to hatch.
  • 11 July 2016
    Due to the persistent cold and wet weather, some of the sitting birds have abandoned their eggs. There are now only 19 active nests. However, there are still 36 young, and a further five eggs that may hatch.
  • 18 July 2016
    A fine, mild but breezy week has resulted in youngsters fledging from five nests, including the the two chicks from the nest with the webcam. We have now moved the camera to another nest with a single five-week-old chick. There are 19 nests still occupied, although four of these are non-breeding adults prospecting for the next season. 22 young remain, one of which hatched this morning, and there are two more eggs in the nest with the newly hatched chick.
  • 25 July 2016
    It was a warm humid week and the young have fledged from four more nests. This makes 22 fledged so far this year. We have ten nests still active, with about a dozen young. We have moved the camera to the nestbox with the youngest chick, which hatched last week. The egg visible in the box has been rejected and will not hatch.
  • 1 August 2016
    We have just six active nests now, and six of the remaining seven chicks are ready to fledge. The camera is on the youngest chick that still has a few weeks to go. The weather this week has been humid and warm with light winds.
  • 8 August 2016
    We have two nests remaining, with one youngster in each. One of them is likely to leave this week, but the chick on the nest with the camera should be here for another three or four weeks depending on the weather.
  • 15 August 2016
    It has been a warm and dry week. There is now only one active nest – which contains the chick on camera. It will probably fledge in a couple of weeks.
  • 22 August 2016
    The last remaining chick is still here, but is preparing to fledge. Sometimes it is visible on the nest, and sometimes it moves to the edge of the nest box where it is out of sight.
  • 29 August 2016
    The last remaining chick has left its nest. We won't see any more swifts until they return to the museum tower next May. In total, 36 young swifts have fledged this year.