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Identification of “low level screaming parties”

Low level screaming activity is defined as a group of screaming Swifts flying at high speed at or below roof level. The presence of low-level screaming parties is a good indication that Swifts are nesting close by. These parties can consist of young birds breeding for the first time, or younger non-breeding birds, as well as established pairs so may contain different numbers of birds: please note the largest number you see. Do not enter records of higher flying Swifts even if they are calling. 

Identification of Swift nest sites

Swift nests can be difficult to identify and so finding nest sites largely depends on you watching the Swift enter the nest which is done at high speed. Swifts return to their nests at different frequencies depending on the weather and the stage of the breeding season.

On windy days in May and early June Swifts return with nesting material, especially in the morning. 

Dusk is the time when Swifts return to their nest to roost, often flying in silently. During late June and July Swifts are feeding young so breeding adults will be returning regularly with food. They fly silently and directly into the nest. The best time to look is around dusk on a warm, still evening, or early morning. Avoid looking on rainy days.

Records of low flying screaming parties are important but we are really after actual nesting sites. For each one we need to know the precise location of the building which is being used, the aspect of the building (e.g. north side) and as precise a description as possible of the nest location (under eaves, under roof tiles, beneath gutters etc and whether or not the nest site is a nest box). Note that if you are lucky enough to identify Swift nests on more than one building please enter separate records for each building.

If swifts are seen but no nest sites identified it would be best to visit again after a couple of weeks to check again. Nests can be difficult to pin down and we’ve found that repeated visits often result in more nests being found.

Fill out the form below to submit your Swift data.  Please note that your records are reviewed and passed on to the Hampshire Biodiversity Information Centre (HBIC) and to organisations working for conservation including the RSPB and Hampshire Ornithological Society (HOS) .Your email address will only be used by Hampshire Swifts in case we need to contact you about your records and will not be passed on to third parties.

Grid references are best obtained using

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