Swifts in Woking

The Swifts in Woking project aims to protect this iconic bird which is in sharp decline in the UK. 

Swifts are an iconic and incredible migrant species that:

  • migrate over 14,000 miles every year
  • can stay in the air for two to three years without landing once
  • eat, sleep and even mate on the wing
  • fly 500 miles a day to feed on airborne insects
  • can live for up to 30 years.

Swifts in the UK are currently declining at nearly 5% per year. Between 1995 and 2016, they declined 53% and the swift is classified as endangered in Great Britain according to IUCN criteria1.

(Source: 1: Stanbury et al. (2017) The risk of extinction for birds in Great Britain. British Birds, 110, pp.502-517.)

About the project

Swifts migrate to the UK to breed at the end April to early May and then return to Africa in August. The main challenge is finding places to breed because so many buildings have been renovated and are no longer suitable for nesting. Food is also an issue with fewer insects available due to the increasing global use of pesticides.

To encourage and improve the conservation of swifts, we have teamed up with Thameswey Ltd  (a company wholly owned by Woking Borough Council) and members of the local community to:

  • raise awareness of the issues facing swifts in the area
  • recruit volunteer swift spotters to find out where swifts are located in the borough
  • work with developers and the local community to provide more nesting opportunities for swifts, so we can increase their numbers.

The project is part of our wider Natural Woking Strategy to support local biodiversity and green spaces.

Want to get involved?

If you’ve seen swifts within the borough, please report your sightings via email. 

If you would like to be involved in the project, you could help by:

  • building nest boxes
  • installing nest boxes
  • volunteering to raise awareness
  • agreeing to have a swift nest box on your property.

For more details or to register to volunteer, please email us. 

Email: swifts@thamesweygroup.co.uk

More information

View the swift sightings map to see where swifts have been reported to date
Visit the Swifts in Woking webpages to find out more about this project

Our plans for a town centre sign with elevated nesting chambers for swifts
Visit the Swift Conservation website to find out more about swifts

Follow the Swifts in Woking project on Twitter to receive the latest project updates @swiftsinwoking.