Cherwell Swifts Project - Plea for Recording of Swift Activity Around Churches

Holy Trinity Shenington
Holy Trinity Shenington where swifts still nest under the eaves

Swifts and traditional nest sites in Anglican churches


50 years ago most of our local parish churches had nesting Swifts.

Now in my part of the country (North Oxfordshire) I reckon it’s roughly one church in seven, and even those will eventually disappear as essential repairs and maintenance work are carried out; or rather they would have disappeared. But this is now much less likely as a result of an agreement reached with representatives of the Oxford Diocese (Berks, Bucks and Oxon).

The agreement is that if planned repairs will affect traditional nest sites, the sites will be left intact if possible, and if that can’t be done efforts will be made to create alternatives.

Also in appropriate cases the Diocese will look favourably at proposals to include Swifts bricks when major renovations are being undertaken, and at the idea of nest boxes behind louvred windows.

Major renovations are already planned for the church in Cropredy (below left) where Swifts still nest in a wall of the tower and we expect the church will benefit from the new agreement. Swifts have also nested for many years at the church in Kidlington (below right). We hope the same will apply when the roof there is eventually repaired.

However all this is dependent on one thing – knowing which churches in these counties are being used by Swifts. At present I only have information about parts Oxfordshire.

So this is a plea to anyone visiting or watching in any of these counties to note and report any Swift activity around Anglican churches; also if anyone already knows of a church in these counties which has recently had nesting Swifts please would they report as below.

Any reports for Berkshire please inform Jan Stannard:

Any reports for Oxfordshire please inform me:

Any reports for Bucks please inform me for the time being. At present there is no one in the Swifts Local Network based in Bucks. I am working on that.

Parties of Swifts wheeling and screaming around village church towers and steeples are one of the glorious sights and sounds of an English summer. I hope we can keep it that way.


Chris Mason

Posted: February 11, 2016