Outdoor PestsBirds

How To Deter Swallows from Nesting

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Swallows are beautiful, agile birds that can be mesmerizing to watch as they dart and dive through the air. However, when these migratory birds choose to build their nests on your property, they can become a nuisance. They can create significant amounts of noise, leave droppings that damage paint, and their nests can block gutters or pose a fire risk.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore several methods to deter swallows from nesting on your property without harming these protected birds or violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.


To deter swallows from nesting on your property, you can install physical barriers like bird netting or wire mesh, use visual deterrents like reflective objects or predator decoys, and employ sound deterrents like high-frequency ultrasonic noise devices. You can also provide alternative habitats like birdhouses, control the insect population to make your property less attractive, and regularly clean your property and remove any nesting materials. Always ensure your methods are humane and in compliance with local and federal bird protection laws.

Understanding Swallows and their Nesting Habits

Swallows typically choose their nesting locations based on several factors including the availability of nesting sites, proximity to water, open foraging areas, shelter and safety, surface for nest attachment, and proximity to other swallows. They prefer to build their nests in barns, under eaves or bridges, and other structures that provide dark ledges and nooks. They use mud to construct their nests and are attracted to old nests, often using them in successive years.

Effective and Humane Methods to Deter Swallows

Physical Barriers

One of the most effective ways to deter swallows from nesting is by installing physical barriers. Bird netting or wire mesh can be hung diagonally to cover areas where swallows could build nests, such as eaves or where a roof and wall meet. Bird spike sticks and bird barriers can also prevent swallows from building nests.

Visual Deterrents

Visual deterrents can be hung near potential nesting sites to scare away swallows. These can include reflective objects, such as flash tape or shiny objects. Predator decoys, like realistic owl or hawk models, can also be effective in deterring swallows from nesting.

Sound Deterrents

High-frequency ultrasonic noise devices can drive swallows away from your property. However, be aware that the noise can be annoying, and some birds may become tolerant to the sounds over time, reducing their effectiveness.

Alternative Habitats

Provide alternative nesting sites for swallows by installing birdhouses or nesting boxes away from your property. This can help to deter swallows from nesting on your home while still allowing them to nest nearby.

Insect Control

Reduce the number of insects around your property, as swallows eat a lot of insects. By controlling the insect population, you can make the area less attractive to swallows.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Regularly clean your porch and remove any nesting materials to discourage swallows from settling in the first place. Seal potential nesting areas and keep your property free of food sources that may attract swallows.

Remember to respect the natural habitats of swallows and other bird species, and always ensure that your deterrent methods are humane and in compliance with local and federal laws protecting migratory birds. Violating these laws can result in fines or even imprisonment.

Mistakes to Avoid

Finally, it’s important to avoid common mistakes when trying to deter swallows from nesting. These include not using proper deterrents, not removing nesting materials, not addressing the nesting surface, and not using eco-friendly bird repellents. By following the guidelines above, you can effectively deter swallows from nesting on your property while still preserving the local swallow population.

If swallows have already nested on your property, remember to be patient, observe the nest, and wait for the breeding season to end before removing it. Always plan for future prevention to keep these beautiful birds from becoming a nuisance next season.

By implementing these strategies, you can enjoy the beauty of swallows without the inconvenience of them nesting on your property.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Migratory Bird Treaty Act?

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act is a federal law in the United States that protects certain migratory birds, including swallows. It prohibits the hunting, capturing, killing, selling, trading, or transporting of these birds, their nests, eggs, or any parts thereof.

When is the breeding season for swallows?

Swallows typically breed between late March and early September, although this can vary depending on the region and specific species of swallow.

What types of insects do swallows eat?

Swallows primarily feed on flying insects like mosquitoes, flies, and beetles. They can eat up to 1,000 insects per day, making them a natural form of pest control.

Can I use a professional bird control service to deal with swallows?

Yes, professional bird control services can help to deter swallows and other birds from nesting on your property. They can provide advice on legally compliant and humane methods, and install deterrents such as netting or spikes.

Are all species of swallows protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act?

Yes, all species of swallows found in the United States are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. This includes Barn Swallows, Cliff Swallows, Tree Swallows, and others.

What are some eco-friendly bird repellents I can use?

Eco-friendly bird repellents often use natural ingredients to deter birds without causing harm. These can include essential oils like peppermint or eucalyptus, or natural predator scents. Always ensure that any repellents used are safe for the environment and other wildlife.

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