The Swifts are coming, but when?

After a week of tense waiting the Swifts finally arrived at the Lodge (BBOWT’s HQ) on the 5th May.  Swifts had been spotted all over England in the days before, but none had shown at the Lodge.  So, it was a bit of a relief when they were finally heard and then seen!

BirdRun and BBOWT conducted the prize draw from all those who entered the right date on 15th May.  The winner of the first prize, a 2 night dinner bed & breakfast stay at the luxury Hotel du Vin in Stratford on Avon, is Mike Dick from Reading. Congratulations Mike for correctly entering the right date!  The two runners up who each receive a copy of Flight Paths by Rebecca Heisman are Nigel Upstone also from Reading and William Wells from Oxford.

Well done to our 3 winners and a big thank you to everyone who took part.

Entries now closed!

Our competition closed at Midnight, 26th April 2023.

Thank you to all who entered.

Ticket prices

ÂŁ5.00 per entry

Postal entries

Send your details to:

The Lodge
1 Armstrong Road

Weighing less than a chicken’s egg, swifts fly over 6,500 miles

For the latest on their journey check out Twitter and Facebook.

Tooltip text

About this competition

BirdRun is working with the fabulous people at the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT). All profits will go to our grassland, heathland and wetland restoration work across our three counties.

Over the last 20 years we’ve lost more than half of our Swifts and BBOWT are doing their bit to help them.

Local records show that the birds will arrive between 27th April and 12th May. If you can guess the actual day the first one arrives you will be entered in our prize draw for the fabulous prize shown here.


Hotel Du Vin

Hotel du Vin Stratford – 2 night DB&B stay with wine in a Superior Double Room


How it works

BirdRun is no ordinary prize draw.

clock iconStep 1

We tell you the time window when our bird normally arrives at the reserve.

calendar iconStep 2

You buy tickets for the day(s) you think the birds will first arrive in that window.

cloud graphicStep 3

BBOWT experts look out for the birds every day and they validate what day the birds first arrive.

your birdrun trophyStep 4

Everyone who gets the correct day are then entered into the prize draw and the winner(s) are selected at random.

If the birds arrive outside the selection window everyone will be entered into the draw. Everyone who correctly chooses the correct first arrival date will be entered into the prize draw. You will be notified of when the draw will take place. Entries will be randomly selected for the prizes and you will be told as soon as possible whether you’ve been one of the lucky winners.

BBOWT community work

More than 60 years on, with nature and climate in crisis, our vital work is more important than ever. We want to bring about nature’s recovery through local action, by inspiring and empowering local people and partners to act for nature.


Since 1959 BBOWT has been a champion for wildlife across our three counties.

As well as providing swift nesting boxes at our staff site in Oxford, BBOWT’s everyday work is in restoring and enhancing habitats that migratory birds such as swifts love. They need safe spaces to raise chicks, and insect-rich environments to feed. BBOWT provides both.

We know that the UK is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world, and this is impacting on our wildlife everywhere with both rare and common species in decline. BBOWT aims to see 30% of land across our three counties well-managed for nature, meaning more wetlands, grasslands, heathlands and woodland for swifts, insects and other flora and fauna to thrive in.

The swift is one of our most eagerly anticipated annual visitors, and by restoring and enhancing habitats like Chimney Meadows in Oxfordshire, Hosehill Lake in Berkshire and Calvert Jubilee in Buckinghamshire we can encourage the right conditions for swifts to visit, raise chicks and find plenty of food.

What others are saying about BirdRun

Guessing the dates of our first arriving Swifts is a great way to engage with nature.

David LindoThe Urban Birder

BirdRun is brilliant. A release for the mind in these times when we are all feeling so constrained

Michelle WeeksNorth London

Such an original idea – this will connect with so many people and hopefully bring them to our reserves

Gordon ScorerCEO, LWT

BirdRun is fantastic at highlighting the amazing journey swifts make every year

Waltham Forest Swifts Group

Some amazing migration facts

godwit graphicThe Bar-tailed Godwit

has the longest non-stop migration: 7,580 miles in 11 days

swift graphicThe Swift

sleeps in flight resting half its brain at a time

penguin graphicThe flightless Adélie Penguin

migrates too! Trekking over 8,000 miles every year