Founded 1889 – Affiliated to Yorkshire Naturalists' Union

Swifts! . . . The North Yorkshire Coast Swift Group

Swifts are amazing birds. They are among the fastest birds in the world. Swifts eat, sleep and even mate on the wing. They only come down to earth to breed. They spend only four months here before heading to Africa for the winter.

Swifts have a long association with humans and have been sharing our buildings for centuries.

Unfortunately they are now in decline and have become ‘red listed’ as a species of conservation concern. They face many problems across the huge area they use both here and in Africa. One of the problems is that modern building techniques prevent Swifts nesting in buildings.

The North Yorkshire Coast Swift Group is part of a national network of groups which aim to help Swifts. The group is a collaboration between Whitby Field Naturalists, Scarborough Field Naturalists and Scarborough birders. In 2021 we linked up with Filey Brigg Ornithologists Group to seek members to cover the Filey area.

What do we do?

We survey areas to find out where Swifts are nesting.

We engage with property owners to try to protect existing nests or if preferred offer nest boxes as an alternative nesting option.

We are putting up nest boxes to try to build up a stock of nest sites for Swifts.

We engage in planning decisions to try to make new builds more Swift friendly.

In 2022 we agreed to look for and try to also help House Martins which are also declining.

For more information on Swifts and their conservation see Swift Bird Facts | Apus Apus – The RSPB

For more information on House Martins and their conservation see House Martin Bird Facts | Delichon Urbica – The RSPB

Grounded or injured Swifts

Chicks sometimes fall out of the nest early, especially in hot weather. They will die if they on the ground. Put the Swift in a quiet, warm, safe, calm & clean environment  – a ventilated shoe box is ideal and put it somewhere away from any disturbance. Then try to find a carer – see below. Do NOT throw a Swift into the air. If they are capable of flight they will launch themselves from a raised hand, if they do not they need care.

For the Scarborough area the nearest local carer is Whitby Wildlife.

Contact Us – whitbywildlife

07342 173 724 (8am to 6pm 7 days a week).

They may also be able to arrange collection of the bird.

See Swift First Aid & Carers ( for more information including a national list of trained carers.