Swift – Terrestrial Passive Acoustic Recording Unit

Swift autonomous recording units are our main platform for collecting terrestrial passive acoustic data for research and conservation. The vision behind developing Swift units was to build a small, lightweight, and cost-effective acoustic recorder that is low cost and easy to use. In addition to supporting researchers, the Swift platform enables hobbyists and enthusiasts from around the world to collect acoustics data in support of wildlife conservation efforts.

Swifts have already been deployed on every continent. Based on user feedback, we are constantly improving the design and functionality of the unit. We are proud of the fact that all of the components of the Swift recorder (electronics, microphones, etc.) have been developed in-house at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

In its regular configuration, the unit is powered by three D-cell batteries, which provide power to the unit and enable continuous data collection for 3 or more weeks at a sampling rate of 48 kHz. Currently, the maximum supported sampling rate is 96 kHz (16 bit resolution). Data are stored on a single full-size memory card (SD cards up to 512 GB). Daily recording schedules can be programmed through a configuration tool. We can easily make modifications (e.g., different housing designs) to the Swift according to the needs of the researchers.

If you are interested in purchasing SwiftOne units (second generation of the original Swift recording units) or have additional questions, please contact us.

Following are some samples of recordings from Swift units deployed in various locations.

Sample One: Twenty seconds recorded by a Swift in Sapsucker Woods, Ithaca, New York, USA at 04:35 local time on 24 May 2017. Background noise from wind and distant automotive traffic

Sample Two: Twenty seconds recorded by a Swift on the eastern slope of the Andes in southern Peru at 11:02 local time on 25 August 2017. No anthropogenic noise

Swift Frequently Asked Questions


Swift Recorder Configuration Tool – Compatible with original Swift model (Windows only)

SwiftOne Recorder Configuration Tool – Compatible with SwiftOne Model (Windows only

Introduction to the Configuration Tool (video)

Swift Recorder Users Guide (Version 2.1)

Swift Recorder Maintenance Suggestions (Version 1.0)

Swift SD Card Information and Formatting Protocol