Posted by: georginaferry | April 27, 2010

The swifts are back!

Swifts in their nest box (not this year's but they will be soon)

One of the most exciting things about the Oxford University Museum of Natural History is that it has its own community of living things. And what lovely things they are: the graceful swifts that nest each year in the tower and raise their young before heading off again on their amazing journey to Africa.

On 24 April the first pair occupied one of the nest boxes. Some of these boxes are fitted with CCTV cameras, which relay the images to a screen in the museum and online, so that everyone can see the pairs rebuilding their nests, laying their eggs, raising their young and eventually watching them fly for the first time. You can read a diary of their progress here.

I felt a huge surge of excitement when I went into the museum this morning and saw the image of a swift approaching the tower. For me the swifts mean summer – every day I can look up from my garden and see their graceful aerobatics, and their shrill cries are the soundtrack to summer days.

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