Many birdwatchers and gardeners appreciate swallows. These vibrant birds are talented, acrobatic fliers, and they eliminate many insect pests. Their nesting habits, however, can cause problems. Swallows make their homes from mud and straw and may nest on eaves outside buildings. The mud, in combination with bird droppings, can eventually become an unsanitary eyesore. Several common hardware supplies can repel swallows without harming the beneficial birds.
Eliminate any abandoned birdhouses and nests on your property. However, leave occupied nests alone until after the birds have gone.
Install 3/4-inch mesh netting over eaves and other areas where swallows have nested in the past. Use hooks or mounting clips placed 1 to 3 inches apart to hold the netting in place. Secure the mounting clips to your home with screws or nails.
Control outdoor flying insects, the major food source for swallows, to prevent attracting the birds to your home. Eliminate garbage and debris around the house, and place tight lids on outdoor garbage cans. Regularly drain or dump out water from kiddie pools, birdbaths and any potential sources of standing water around the home.
Suspend monofilament fishing line around your home to repel swallows, but keep in mind this method also repels other songbirds. This transparent fishing line works for an unknown reason: James E. Knight, Extension Wildlife Specialist at Montana State University speculates that birds may fear entanglement, while other wildlife specialists speculate that the line creates the illusion of a barrier. Hang a single line across trees or other posts in your yard to enclose the area. If your yard has no existing posts, drive 8-foot poles into the corners of your yard and tie lines across them.
Things You Will Need
- Plastic ¾-inch mesh netting
- Mounting clips or hooks
- Screws or nails
- Fence post driver
- 8 foot poles
- Monofilament line
- Swallows' diet consists mostly of insects, so bird feeders do not attract them.
- Swallows are a protected species; harming them or disturbing active nests is illegal.
- University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Bird Exclusion: Lines, Wires and Hoop Devices; Ron Johnson; 1997
- Montana State University; Repelling Birds Using Monofilament Line; James E. Knight; 2000
- Birdstoppers: Barn Swallow
- Home Grounds & Animals; Insects in Recreation Areas; Dina M. Miller and Sally L. Paulson; 2010