I recently moved to a previously inhabited house. I have a window in the first floor. Sometimes, when I open it and lean outside on it, a pack of 4 swifts come and start to fly "aggresively", passing rapidly around my window, doing their characteristic high-pitch sound. It's a bit scary. They pass very close by, less than two meters away.

I read that

On fine summer evenings Swifts gather in “low flying screaming parties” as birds chase each other excitedly around the buildings where there are nests in high speed, aerobatic groups.

So, there is probably a nest around (something I haven't really explored). But the question is, are they traying to "scare me" or "warn me" about it? Is there scientific theories trying to explain this behaviour?

2 Answers 2


I have experienced this exact scenario. I don't think they're trying to scare you, as they don't escalate the behaviour if you refuse to move.

I've seen the swifts from my loft space fly circles around me, as I walk to the shops. Occasionally they do the same swooping motion from the bedroom window, mere inches above my head.

Personally, I think they are playing. Swifts return to the same nest each year and will get used to seeing and hearing you around.

If yours are like the ones that swoop my window - they fly in groups, including any new additions to their family. The swooping may be the parents showing you to their young, so that they don't panic upon seeing you in close proximity to their roost when they eventually have their own young.


Swifts are notable for their use of chimneys to nest. Is there a chimney top anywhere near your window? When I see swifts, they fly relatively high; even when they nest in my own chimney. Swallows behave more as you describe.

  • 1
    There is. I am pretty sure they are Swifts though. Jul 16, 2020 at 16:11
  • I often see swifts coming down to the level of upstairs windows. The sound is distinctive anyway
    – Chris H
    Jun 28, 2023 at 12:16

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