Common Swift, Colby, Norfolk, United Kingdom, 11 August 2012

Click here for Swift nest box live cameras

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Live cameras inside Swift nest boxes

Welcome to this part of my website which is to show the inside of two different Swift nest boxes using live webcams. I am lucky enough to have Swifts nesting under the tiles of my house roof. I decided a few years ago to add some artificial wooden Swift nest boxes to the house, just below the eaves. I was delighted that the Swifts moved in almost immediately. Since then I have installed cameras in two of the boxes which give an insight into the social habits of these wonderful birds.

There are about 100 different species of Swifts in the world, and the one which breeds in the UK, the Common Swift is a summer migrant to northern Europe and spend the winter months in warmer climes south of the equator, in sub-Saharan Africa. They are relatively long-lived for such small birds, and only come to land when they are nesting. Their scientific name, Apus apus relates to the fact that they have such short legs they appeared to have no legs to the first bird watchers. Indeed they cannot walk but they have very strong feet which enables them to cling to the outside of buildings in the breeding season.

They are about 17cm long. They are one of the last of the summer migrants to arrive in Europe, and also one of the first to leave for the winter. They can have up to 4 eggs (average 2) and only have one brood per year. Males usually arrive at the nest first and they don't construct sophisticated nests but line the nest with feathers they catch in flight. Incubation begins after the last egg is laid and lasts about 20 days.  The chicks leave the nest about 42 days after hatching, It is not known how the chicks find their way to their wintering area.

I hope you enjoy following the antics of these birds through the summer. The 'scream' of the Swifts is really the sound of summer, as far as I am concerned. 

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