Wednesday 29 May 2013

Cambridge Pilot Swift City Index 2013

This post describes what we are trying to do in Cambridge, as part of the RSPB Pilot Swift City Index

As Cambridge is quite a large area, we would like to cover as much of the city as possible with 10 minute point counts, which will require point counts at more than 10 locations.  The RSPB design prefers observations made in calm, mild weather and with no rain, as well as within the time interval 5pm to 9pm, and at designated locations.

We would also welcome 10 minute point counts at any time, in any weather and at any place that participants may choose, but if you can manage to satisfy the constraints of the RSPB design, then please do.

We hope to determine to what extent time of day and different weather conditions matter.

For anyone who would like to be involved, then we have prepared a Google map of preferred locations
As well as a form to record observations (hit File> Download).

Note that there are 4 categories of weather to record, as well as 5 categories of flying Swifts - all explained on the form.

We will derive data for the RSPB form, 2 visits per site, from these records.

Please email completed forms to

Should anyone else in another town or village wish to use this form, then please help yourself.

Note, This activity is different from and in addition to our desire, with Cambridge City Council and with South Cambs District council, to locate all breeding Swifts in Cambridge and South Cambs, either by observations at nest sites, or by recording low level screaming Swifts - this being a good proxy for a breeding site. These records will be recorded in a Living Record database - it is described here

Another recent post here is intended to give a guide for good times to observe Swifts at their breeding colonies.


  1. Dick,

    I would happily do a survey in our next village where Swifts nested last year but as the village is quite small would less than 10 points be acceptable?



  2. Hi David,
    Could you email me on