Latest News & Events

Please note ‘Santa at the Castle’ is now fully booked and we have a waiting list. We wish everyone a very merry Christmas and look forward to welcoming you all to the museum in 2017.

We were very saddened to hear the recent death of Peter Nolan, one of weekly restoration volunteers. Peter was one of the first volunteers who joined us at the Irish agriculture Museum in early 2014, and was involved in many … Continue reading

Johnstown Swift Project

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A swift enters one of our specially designed boxes.

High up the courtyard walls are specially designed nest boxes for swifts. Swifts, like swallows and house martins, arrive in the spring after a long journey from Africa before departing in August (earlier than swallows). Unlike swallows and house martins, swifts never land and continually fly 24 hours a day – they are the fastest bird in the world in level flight and can fly up to 10,000 ft at night to sleep on the wing! The only time they land is when they nest and produce their young.

After the young birds have fledged, they make their first migration to Africa and don’t return until here they are at least two years old. They then look for a partner but may not breed and nest for another year or so.

Swifts tend to nest in holes in walls or buildings but modern building regulations mean that potential nesting places for them have dwindled – hence, why we’re trying to give them a helping hand. We had no interest in our boxes in 2012 but in 2013 we had a pair nest in the left hand box. They produced one chick which fledged on 7 August. In 2014 the same pair produced two chicks both of which fledged successfully and three fledged in 2015.

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Swift on nest as seen from mini box cam.

Our breeding pair of swifts have now returned. We will update their progress on this page with our diary as well as our Facebook page.

Swift Diary 2016:

29 April:  First swift seen in Co Wexford.

4 May:  Breeding pair return to their usual nesting box (Box 1) on far left. A week earlier than last year.

12 May: Pair produce their first egg.

13 May: Pair produce a second egg.

15 May: Pair produce a third egg.

16 May: Incubation of eggs begins.

30 May: A new pair fly into Box 4 (right hand box) together.

3 June – 5 June: Three swift chicks hatch out in Box 1.

2 July: First chick fledges.

11 July: Second chick fledges at 8.45am.

21 July: Third swift fledges.

22 July: Adult birds depart nest box.

 For more info on swifts in Ireland go to:- http://swiftconservation.ie/

 

Three swift chicks

Our three swift chicks of 2015.

 

 

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