Leitrim Swift Survey 2020

BWI Swift

Leitrim Swift Survey 2020

Perhaps the most iconic and intriguing of our urban bird species, Swifts are a small migratory bird that visits Ireland each year to nest. They travel from southern Africa where they have spent over eight months of the year. Swifts have adapted to nesting in cavities where found in buildings in our cities, towns, and villages.

Their future is seriously threatened in Ireland due primarily to the loss of nesting sites.  From May to August each year you can encounter Swifts, you will usually hear Swifts before you see them, their distinctive 'screaming' call is uttered on the wing as they fly superbly over rooftops at high speed.

However, the good news is that there is a lot that can be done to halt the decline in Leitrim’s Swift population, knowing how many Swifts there are and where they nest in our cities, towns and villages is the first step.  The support and active engagement of local communities is critical to building greater awareness of this unique bird species and in undertaking conservation action where it is most needed. This summer, BirdWatch Ireland will conduct a County Swift Survey in Leitrim.  Although finding, recording, and mapping Swift nesting sites is core to the Leitrim Swift Survey, BirdWatch Ireland will be making efforts online through social media and by other digital means to get local communities and residents involved by recording and reporting the presence of Swifts in their respective areas.

Tidy Towns groups, community groups and interested individuals play a vital role in Swift conservation by undertaking projects to directly help conserve Swifts in their localities. It is hoped that communities and individuals will follow-up on what is learned through this work by taking direct conservation actions for Swifts in their respective communities in the months and years to come.

To find out more about Swifts and the 2020 County Swift Survey you can view BirdWatch Ireland’s introduction video here.

You can also download the Saving Swifts guide here. Hard copies are available, email smalone@leitrimcoco.ie to request your free copy.

If you would like more information or are interested in being involved in the Leitrim Swift Survey 2020 please email Sarah Malone, the Leitrim Heritage Officer, at smalone@leitrimcoco.ie

The 'County Leitrim Swift Survey 2020' is an initiative of the Leitrim Heritage Office and Leitrim County Council and is funded by the National Parks and Wildlife Service’s National Biodiversity Action Plan Fund.

How to Identify Swifts:



  • EU Sturctural Fund
  • European Union
  • Leitrim Heritage Logo