Hooray! The swifts arrived

BirdRun Spring22 has completed. The swift’s arrived at Walthamstow on the 25th April. They’re now feeding up before they start breeding and nest building. The draw for the final winners was held at London Wildlife Trust on the 4th May – check out our news section for the details.

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

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

they're here!
they're here!
Swifts are at risk of starvation
Swifts are at risk of starvation

About this competition

BirdRun has partnered with the amazing people at the London Wildlife Trust: wildlondon.org.uk/bird-run. The money we raise will help them protect nature in the city and help the swifts thrive.

Over the last 20 years, the UK has lost more than half of its swifts. But London Wildlife Trust are doing their bit to help. Your support will go towards enhancing the swift tower to encourage nesting and wider site habitat improvements at the Walthamstow Wetlands that are so important for swifts’ survival.

Records show that the birds will likely arrive between the 13th and 25th April. If you can guess the actual day the first one arrives, you will be entered into our prize draw for one of the fabulous prizes shown here.


star gazing holiday


2 Exclusive Nights accommodation for up to 5 with Stargazing and a Hot tub.*

your prize for birdrun


Two-night B&B for two in a King En-Suite in the heart of London



One night B&B stay for two right by the beach in Norfolk


How it works

BirdRun is no ordinary prize draw.

clock iconStep 1

We tell you the time window when the first swift normally arrives at Walthamstow Wetlands.

calendar iconStep 2

You enter the day(s) you think the first swift will arrive.

cloud graphicStep 3

London Wildlife Trust experts look out for the birds every day and they validate the day when the first swift arrives.

your birdrun trophyStep 4

Everyone who gets the correct date is entered into the prize draw. The winner(s) are selected at random.
(If the swifts arrive outside the selection window everyone will be entered into the draw.)

Walthamstow wetlands

Internationally important nature reserve providing shelter to a wide range of wildlife.

Walthamstow Wetlands

In the Lee Valley a cluster of reservoirs have been transformed into Europe’s largest urban wetland reserve.

The ten reservoirs offer haven for swifts who visit to feed and mate before nesting in the open eaves of houses in Walthamstow and elsewhere.

They love the place because it’s also home for their favourite food. They snatch the abundant flying insects, especially mosquitoes, gnats, midges and other flies from the air at superspeed.

Swifts can eat up to 20,000 insects a day and they cover a lot of ground doing it:  they can travel between 500 and 700 miles a day while feeding.

Walthamstow Wetlands is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It also forms part of the Lee Valley Special Protection Area and is on the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.

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