Statistics for 2016
This year the first swift was spotted around the Museum tower on Wednesday 4th May. Details of nesting pairs and their chicks will be updated week by week through the summer months. More about swifts in Oxford
See below for the week by week diary.
- 4th May 2016
They're back! Screaming party of 12 swifts buzzing around the Museum tower this morning. One swift was spotted checking out a nest box.
- 9th May 2016
There is evidence of occupation in at least 5 nesting boxes.
- 16th 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 3 pairs occupying boxes and 5 incubating adults.
- 23rd 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 4 pairs. The weather this week has been mild with some rain.
- 30th May 2016
There are now 23 active nests. The weather this morning is cloudy with a cool north 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.
- 6th 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.
- 13th 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 9 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.
- 20th 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 4 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.
- 27th 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.
- 4th July 2016
Following the cold, wet week one youngster and one adult have died, and 3 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 6 eggs still to hatch.
- 11th July 2016
Due to the persistent cold and wet weather some of the sitting birds have abandoned their eggs. So there are now only 19 active nests. However, there are still 36 young, and a further 5 eggs that may hatch.
- 18th July 2016
A fine, mild but breezy week has resulted in youngsters fledging from 5 nests, including the the two chicks from the nest with the webcam. We have now moved the camera to another nest with a single 5 week-old chick. There are 19 nests still occupied although 4 of these are non-breeding adults prospecting for the next season. 22 young remain, one of which hatched this morning, and there are 2 more eggs in the nest with the newly-hatched chick.
- 25th July 2016
It was a warm humid week and the young have fledged from 4 more nests. This makes 22 fledged so far this year. We have 10 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.
- 1st August 2016
We have just 6 active nests now, and 6 of the remaining 7 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.
- 8th August 2016
We have 2 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 3/4 weeks depending on the weather.
- 15th August 2016
It has been a warm and dry week. There is now only one active nest - the chick on camera. It will probably fledge in a couple of weeks.
- 22nd 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.
- 29th 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.
Ringing a swift chick
The average numbers of young swifts ringed each year over the last 50 years are:
- 1963-1972 36.7
- 1973-1982 70.4
- 1983-1992 100.0
- 1993-2002 99.2
- 2003-2012 81.1