Swallow Habits and Preferences
Swallows will typically build mud nests on the exterior corners of man-made structures under eaves. These nests provide a place for swallows to roost and care for young. Unlike many other birds, swallows have a tendency to return to the same nest year after year (unless the nest is disturbed or removed). Swallows have a distinctive sound or song that they emit, and are highly social birds. Swallows will prefer more open-ended structures inside of which to build their mud nests, and prefer sites with close proximity to water. Swallows do particularly well in areas like barns and stables, but they have become increasingly common in urban areas in the past few years. Swallows will congregate in groups after breeding seasons, sometimes in the thousands.
Construction of mud nests are unsightly and can cause expensive damage to the exterior of structures. Swallows also carry a significant health risk, as critters such as the swallow bug will often latch on and travel with the swallow. If swallows build their nest(s) on a residential building or even a commercial structure, the odds of these swallow bugs jumping to humans becomes much more likely. Other species of lice can also end up on swallows and jump to humans.
Biology of Swallows
Swallows are often blue in color with curved, pointed wings. They will primarily eat insects, making them a beneficial bird in some ways. Swallows are very agile and fast fliers and have the necessary maneuverability to feed on insects while flying. Our species of swallow in the Pacific Northwest is strongly migratory. Swallows are typically 17-19 centimeters long, and can weigh anywhere from ½ to ¾ of an ounce.
Swallow Control Measures & Prevention
Swallows are federally protected birds, but are also migratory from the Pacific Northwest at certain times of the year. Bird netting can be installed by a professional bird control technician to keep swallows from re-infesting previous nesting areas but only out of the nesting season due to federal protection of this species of bird.