Help us with our Swift Survey: If you should be interested in making a record of what you encounter when watching Swifts near to you or around the villages of Totley, Dore and Bradway, please do take the opportunity of filling in one or more of our Survey Forms.  Click here for the link.  Details of where to submit the form are shown on the form.  Please do let us know as soon as possible if you suspect Swifts are nesting in your property or any other property or a nest box.

Should you wish to contact one of the other Swift Groups in Sheffield or find out more about Swifts please have a look at the Sheffield Swift Network website by going to


Please also take a look at our reports that relate to our earlier work in and around Totley and S17, these can be found on the right of this page under archives.



As we eagerly await the return of our Swifts to S17 in early May we can look back with a great deal of pleasure regarding the successes we have had in 2023.


With all the Swift nest boxes we have erected around the village over the last three years it was thrilling to know that a pair of Swifts had returned to a box on a property in The Grove.  The birds are site faithful and are known to come back to the same nest site year after year.  And on this occasion, it was not only seeing the birds enter the box and having to assume they were nesting and not just roosting together, but this box had been fitted with a camera inside so positive proof of nesting was established.


We then heard that a nest box on another house on The Grove was occupied by Swifts and yet another box on the same road was being regularly “checked out” by “bangers”.  An apt name for young Swifts that inspect a potential nest site by flying up to it and gently touching it in flight.  Sometimes these birds will alight and peer into the nest box. These birds are normally two or three years old and are prospecting for a nest site.  The real hope is that they will return to that nest site the following year if they survive the massive migration they undertake to Africa.  There and back, overwintering there, never landing in all that time; quite remarkable.


We always tell residents when they enquire about having a box fitted that getting Swifts to take to a box must be regarded as a long-term project. We have always hoped that once these younger birds start choosing a nest box and then nesting in it, their young will return and seek out a similar nest box. It is great that currently we still have quite a good population of Swifts in and around the village using gaps in brickwork or under gutters to nest. Nationally Swifts have declined dramatically over the last twenty years and we know they have declined in Totely over the years, but we are hoping that by providing all these new nest sites by way of erecting over 150 nest boxes so far, we will see our Swift population stabilize and eventually increase. 


Further evidence that our boxes are working is that we know Swifts have been using a box on Totley Hall Lane and a pair have also been seen showing interest in the box on the house next door to that.  In addition, a box fitted in Dore has proved successful in attracting Swifts.  


Swifts are communal birds; they do like other Swifts nesting alongside, that is why we have fitted a lot of dual chambered nest boxes. We are just hoping that this is the start of things to come as far as these lovely birds using our boxes around the village.  It will be a special reward for all the local people who have supported this project.


Should you be interested in purchasing a Swift box and having our group arrange the fitting then please do contact as we will be only too pleased to do a site visit and have a chat with you. If you are interested in reading more about our work do have a look at the Totley Swifts Facebook page. 


You will see mentioned on the Facebook page the idea of having fitted in a property, house bricks that are specifically designed for Swifts to nest in.  These bricks are certainly worth considering if you are having a new build, house improvements or a house extension.  You can even have Swift bricks retrofitted in your property, one brick out a Swift brick in; we can put you in touch with someone who is specializingin this work if you are interested.


A further success last year was our evening walk around the Laverdene estate in the summer to watch the Swiftsperforming overhead; an open event that local residents attended and thoroughly enjoyed.  Laverdene is the hotspot for Swifts, where you can experience up to 40 birds flying high overhead and some fly low over the roof tops screamingor flash by silently when entering a nest hole.  It can be a real spectacle to experience, so we will be organizing another walk this year at the height of the Swift breeding season so please do keep a look out for the event date. 


Our work surveying the distribution of Swifts in Totley, Dore and Bradway will continue so if you do happen to be interested in helping us, please get in touch; the more eyes the better! We try to establish just how many Swifts are flying over houses in S17 and where, so if you are aware they are flying low over your house or are entering a nest box or your property or a property near to you, we would love to hear from you.  Please do not assume we know all the sites in S17.  We are also very keen to learn if there are any House Martins nesting in the area too, they are the birds that build a cup shaped nest under the gutters but again there has been a big decline in the numbers nationally.

So, as we await the arrival of the first wave of Swifts in Totley in May if not before; you may want to look at the Sheffield Swift Network website for more information relating to this iconic species. 

The two photographs are of just three of many Swifts that have been picked up and handed to Chet Cunago for rehabilitation over the last two years.  Chet is one of our committee members and does a great job caring for and hand feeding these birds before they are fit enough and strong enough to be released back into the sky above Totley.

Chris Measures

Coming Soon (see Events page for further details):


Saturday 13th July: Bird and Butterfly walk


Friday 19th July: a walk through the woods  

There will be no Ranger led Conservation sessions until September. Please see emails and website for details of ad hoc sessions before then, led by FoGW committee members.


See Conservation Work page