Creating a Safe Environment for Swifts in Lymington
This is the story of how the discovery of dead birds trapped on the side of a building was turned into a rare conservation success in Lymington.
Lymington Business Centre is one of the few remaining buildings in the town which retains breeding Swifts and is a popular place to watch them in the summer months as they fly in screaming parties low over the roof tops. Last winter, however, members of Hampshire Swifts noticed something sad, as the corpses of two Swifts and a Starling were found trapped in the vertical gaps between some of the slates on the side of the building. This had never been noted before.
The owners of the Business Centre immediately agreed that something had to be done and a plan of action was hatched. On inspection of the eaves on the side and rear of the building it became clear that not only could we seal up the gaps, but we could also create new nest sites between the exposed rafters of the building.
In 2018, 28 new nest sites were created on the building, complementing those already present. At the same time all the gaps between the slates were sealed making it impossible for birds to get trapped in future. The final nest site was created on the 7th May and birds were already entering some of the retained original nest sites.
Lymington Business Centre now has the potential to host a much larger and significant colony of Swifts over the coming years and thanks are due to Yvonne and Don Mackenzie for supporting this work, Nick Windibank who coordinated the whole project, Tim Norriss for designing the nest sites and Roger Maynard, roofer extraordinaire, who actually did the work come rain or shine.
Thanks are also due to Waitrose Lymington branch which, through their Community Matters scheme, raised a substantial sum to support this project.