These amazing birds which eat, preen, sleep and mate while flying will be with us until the end of July when they will migrate all the way back to southern Africa – a round trip of around 14,000 miles!

They are incredible flyers with a maximum speed of 65 mph. You may have noticed them in recent months racing up and down the High Street screaming at one another. They fly about 500 miles a day and during their lives they fly about 2 million miles – equivalent to more than 4 trips to the moon and back!

They can live for up to 30 years and usually stay with the same partner all their lives. Swifts have nested in Southdown Galleries for a number f years and there are now a few more nests in private houses near the Parish Church. Mostly their nests are in spaces under roofs and in nooks and crannies of old buildings but special Swift nest boxes can be attached to buildings such as those at the side of Stokes.

The Swift population is decreasing rapidly because old buildings are generally knocked down or repaired and new buildings have no nooks and crannies. They are very faithful to their nest sites so, if the nest site is knocked down or repaired – they are homeless! Henfield Birdwatch is looking for new nest sites in Henfield but we can’t snoop around private houses. If you are interested in helping Swifts please go to our Facebook page or email

Photo copyright Paula Blake