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Swifts have been nesting in ventilation flutes in the tower of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History for many years, providing an opportunity for scientists to study these elusive birds. The swift colony has been the subject of the Oxford Swift Research Project, started by David and Elizabeth Lack in 1947 - one of the longest running studies of any species of birds. This is a short history by their son Andrew and by Roy Overall, who has monitored the Museum swifts every year since 1962.