How to deter barn swallows from nesting We've allowed 50 but no more!

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We have had years of a nest or two in an alcove but none last year. We now have about 50 nests going up on two sides of the house with a huge mess but now they want to build on the other two sides and I don't want them to. Help!O
q how to deter barn swallows from nesting we ve allowed 50 but no more
One small area of barn swallow condos at our home. They're still under construction.
  7 answers
  • Betsy Betsy on May 12, 2018
    Geeze oh Pete! I'm thinking that you will have to wait until fall to get rid of these nests so that the babies aren't hurt or killed. Just know that swallows and their nests are fully protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, which makes it illegal to intentionally kill, injure or take any migratory bird. It is illegal to intentionally damage, disrupt nest building or destroy the nest, eggs, or young of a swallow while it is being built or in use. Once they are gone, you can:

    Remove old barn swallows nests – but only when they are vacant – and thoroughly clean all feathers and droppings with a cleaning solution.
    Add a coat of fresh paint over areas to be treated.

    Remove all old nests from unwanted surfaces so they cannot be reused.

    Maybe hang an owl statue in the area in the fall so it's there in the spring when the scouts come to check out the area.

    Another thing you can do is creat an alternative habitat to make your buildings less attractive to local swallows. With a more attractive nesting site available, the birds should lose interest in your buildings. Find a location where nesting swallows won’t be a nuisance and set up a structure with a ledge or overhang to provide a nesting area. Purpose-built swallow nest cups and ledges are available to create the ideal nesting surface for barn swallows.
    To give the birds a sense of safety, the nesting surface should be at least 8 feet off the ground and around 6 inches below the ceiling, and should include sides for protection from wind and rain. Provide food and calcium sources by setting up a feeder filled with insect-based bird food and putting out crushed egg shells. Complete the habitat by creating a source of mud the swallows can use for nesting material.
    Keeping barn swallows away from your buildings and garden will most likely require a combination of methods, such as physically blocking nesting sites, setting up bird scare devices, and applying deterrent sprays. Good luck, and learn to love these little guys:) Even if from a distance!

  • Liz Liz on May 12, 2018
    hang a paper lantern. Bugs and birds will think this is a wasp nest and keep clear of the area. The question is.. what do you have planted near by that is attracting them? Hawks frequently nest near snakes as that is what they feed to their hatchings. The same goes for your nesting birds.
  • Susan shahian Susan shahian on May 12, 2018
    Once they start, spray the area with a pressure nozzle hose
  • Landsharkinnc Landsharkinnc on May 12, 2018
    take a broom and knock them down at soon as you see the first glob of mud ... don't let them get ahead of you;
  • Pat Pat on May 12, 2018
    I had a swallow building a nest on my apartment deck....he would dive bomb me whenever I went outside. The maintenance man got rid of it (wasn't completely built) and the next day, the determined swallow started building another one....took a swish of the broom to stop him....and that was the end of it. Next year I didn't notice any nests. I had cable wires going across my deck and birds used to roost there, making a big mess....learned if I stuffed balled up newspaper between the wire and wall...problem solved. No room for them to roost.
  • Blb26886426 Blb26886426 on May 12, 2018
    We'll do all of the above. First, we can knock down the mud legally before eggs are in the nest but we will need to let them hatch in the ones that we allowed. I found a wood nest box for barn swallows online that sold for $40 (one box). At the rate of the houses needed this year, we would be spending thousands so we will work on an alternative for next year. Not sure why they don't build on the barn that's about 50 yards away from the house but they never have. I tried to get an owl or hawk in town but no one sold them. Word online says they don't always work. My husband put up metallic strips along the eaves but they seem to like it. Next year we'll keep a boundaries :)