Lymington's Swifts

Andy Broadhurst, who lives in Brockenhurst, is behind the Hampshire Swift project that is endeavouring to monitor the breeding populations of Common Swifts in the cities, towns and villages across Hampshire. We probably all can recall parties of screaming Swifts during the summers of our younger days.

With all the rebuilding and developments that have taken place in and around our area in recent years the numbers of nesting sites has dwindled and Andy has given me permission to put on our blog the article he submitted to the Lymington Times, which makes very interesting reading. 

Common Swift

Andy writes: Hampshire Swifts was set up in April 2016 to reverse the decline of these beautiful and charismatic birds. We now have over 150 members across the county and our priority is to identify and protect swift breeding sites and expand the population by working with businesses, developers, churches and individuals to install nest boxes.

If you are interested in helping our work, by sending in records of the swifts you have seen, putting up nest boxes or helping in any other way please contact us via or

Swifts are the iconic birds which grace our skies in the summer months, best recognized by their habit of forming “screaming parties” flying low and fast between houses. They are now feeding up and preparing to return on the 8000 mile trip back to their wintering areas in Africa.  

Swifts are declining in the UK and there is a strong link between a loss of nest sites and the decline of swift numbers. Because of this, a new group, Hampshire Swifts, has been busy counting and recording nest sites in Lymington since May. 

The good news is that our results indicate that Lymington is a “hotspot” for swifts in Hampshire. Several parts of the town have good numbers and on a warm summers evening the sight and sound of groups of swifts powering between the buildings is intoxicating.

The bad news is that these birds are nesting on fewer and fewer buildings as houses and offices are renovated or developed, removing the small gaps and spaces in the roofs of buildings where swifts need to nest. Our research shows that perhaps only 10 buildings host the majority of Lymington’s swifts making them vulnerable to future development.

There are two approaches we can use to protect our swifts. The first is to maintain existing sites. The second is by providing safe, alternative nesting sites by attaching swift boxes to new and renovated buildings or incorporating “swift” bricks into the brickwork of new properties.
There are some big developments on-going and planned in Lymington, all are located near existing swift nesting colonies and all would be suitable for swift nest boxes or bricks. These measures are easy, cheap, make a big difference and generate good publicity. Why not contact Hampshire Swifts for advice on how best to help these incredible birds?