Help out with a Swift survey

In Edinburgh we’ve been working since 2000 to help our declining population of swifts.  This summer, in partnership with the RSPB, we are carrying out the first full survey in 10 years to identify where these amazing birds are nesting in the city.  We need as many volunteers as possible to help and the good news is, this is a survey which works best in good weather!

A training event is being held on Wednesday 24th May 6.30pm, hosted by Historic Environment Scotland at the Holyrood Park Education Centre.  So if you fancy a summer’s evening stroll to look for these avian acrobats, please email to book your training place.

For more information on swift conservation work across Edinburgh email us at

Conservation of Swifts – RSPB Edinburgh talk

In a first for Edinburgh, the UK expert on the conservation of Swifts, Edward Mayer, is giving a talk on Wednesday 15 April, 7.30pm at the Lindsay Stewart Lecture Theatre, Napier Craiglockhart Campus, Colinton Road.  The event is organised by the RSPB Edinburgh members group and supported by Edinburgh World Heritage.

Swift conservation talk
Swift conservation talk

The number of swifts has greatly declined in Edinburgh.  These birds nest in tiny spaces in older buildings, and return to the same nest year after year.  As our buildings, especially tenements, have been repaired and restored, some nesting spaces have been lost.  This is why Swifts have been a priority in the Edinburgh Biodiversity Action Plan since it was first published in 2000.

In recent years the Planning and Building Standards Service has promoted the creation of new nest sites by asking for hollow nesting ‘bricks’ to be included in new buildings.  This has helped to create new potential nest sites across the city.  There have also been projects to promote nests on existing buildings.  Our guidance note on Swifts and developments contains more information on how to do this.  If you have any queries about Swifts in Edinburgh or biodiversity in general, please get in touch with us at