Cliff swallows and barn swallows are slender, sleek birds that spend their spring and summers in North America. Swallows are very territorial and will return to the same nesting site over and over. Building eaves and other structures often replace cliffs these days to build their distinctive mud pellet nests (see photo at right). Swallows have brownish red faces and throats with steel blue coats and light colored bellies. Cliff swallows have squared off tails, but barn swallows have long forked tails (see top photo). Young swallows have similar coloring, but lighter.
Damage Caused by Swallows
Swallows are often a nuisance in suburban areas as they build their mud nests that damage and deface the outer walls and eaves of residences and office buildings. Swallow feces often end up on the sides of buildings and the ground below from the colony of birds in residence. Building owners report extra clean up costs and concern over slip and fall liability from swallow dropping buildup, plus an unclean, dirty company image. The bacteria, fungal agents and parasites found in swallow droppings and nests can carry a host of serious diseases, including histoplasmosis, encephalitis, salmonella, meningitis, toxoplasmosis and more.
These small, nimble birds enjoy special legal protection. Once they have laid their eggs in the nest, you CANNOT disturb them. You must wait until they leave for their winter homes to remove the nests and then exclude them.
Two products work well for getting rid of swallows. First is to use 3/4 inch bird netting installed along the underside of the eaves at an angle to prevent them from building their nests there the following year.
Another option is to install the new product BirdSlide™. BirdSlide™ cuts off the angle like bird net does, but it is made of U.V. stabilized polycarbonate that can be painted to color match your structure and blend seamlessly. Installation should be completed by a professional bird consultant. Call our offices for more information.