Where Swifts Nest
Swifts On The Nest - Photo David Callan
Swifts are usually to be found nesting under roof tiles, just inside the roof space of a building or in holes in a wall.
Wherever there is a local colony and holes in the eaves or broken pointing, or missing tiles, they will eventually find suitable holes and move in. Anyone who has watched a pair of swifts looking for a suitable "home" will know how thoroughly and persistently they will investigate anything that looks like a possible site.
It is not the case that they only nest in old buildings. There are swifts nesting in houses built in the 1960s/70s.
They will generally be found to be nesting over 3m above ground level, though like all our other generalisations that one is not infallible.
All swifts which are seen going into a site are not necessarily nesting, as young non-breeding birds roost at nest sites - but that is an added complication that does not need to make any difference to swift nest site conservation - a roost site is a potential nest site.
Examples of Nest Sites -
Examples of Nest Sites
Under Roofs or Tiles
Swift flying over nest site at Ruchazie, Glasgow.
Mansard roof in Amsterdam - swifts enter under flashing.
Swifts are getting under the tiles of this 1970s house.
Swifts get under the roofs of these modern houses in Winchburgh, West Lothian.
On Wall Head in Traditional Buildings
Typical tenement back court where swifts nest.
Close-up taken from scaffolding of nest entrances - note the swift’s wing trailing along the wall as it gets to the nest from the entrance hole.
Ladder Soffits, with a ventilation gap at the Wall Head offer access to roof space
Church building. Photo Bill Murrells.
This housing estate in Crewe has been registered as a Grade A site of Biological importance on account of its swift colony.
In Glasgow's Peripheral Estates Built from the 1930's until the 60's
Typical street where swifts nest in the newer tenements.
They gain access via “defects” like this one.
In Holes in Walls
These tend to be in older stone buildings, where pointing has crumbled to leave small holes
Factory in Bardon Mill, Northumberland.
Close-up of one of the nest sites - only 0.2m from ground.
This remote castle on Loch Goil has a swift colony.
Gable end of church hall in Staindrop with swift holes.
In Church Towers
Church tower at St Mary's Ely. Photo by Bill Murrells.
In Purpose-made Holes
Swifts have taken well to purpose-made holes (see also under "opportunities")
In-built boxes in Amsterdam.
Man-made swift holes at Thirlwell Castle, Northumberland.
In Old Woodpecker Holes. Photo - Ron Summers
In A Block of Flats
Is this the first record of a swift nest in a multi storey block. Photo - John Molloy - Glasgow July 2002
Wyndford flats, Maryhill, Glasgow.
© ConcernForSwifts 2002