Swallow are small birds that are likely to nest in small nooks or holes in man-made buildings, particularly under shelter. Swallows are typically between 5 and 7 inches and are usually one of two species: the barn swallow or the cliff swallow. The barn swallow has a very distinct forked tail, whereas the cliff swallow has a square tale. Both species build nets made of compacted, hardened mud in suitable notches in vertical surfaces, which unfortunately includes man-made structures. Furthermore, swallows are extremely territorial. Once they have chosen a nesting ground they rarely move to another. Finally, swallows are protected under Canadian law. In 1918, Canada signed an international treaty called the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. This treaty prohibits the hunting of swallows and the destruction of their eggs without specific permission from the government.
While the nests swallows build usually hold a small number, the rate at which these birds can deface a building should not be underestimated. Swallows have a tendency to "whitewash" a building with their droppings in the vicinity of their nest. As with all birds, the feces of a swallow may damage the aesthetics of a building if not cleaned immediately. Furthermore, dropping are a health hazard and can contaminate nearby food and water supplies. In addition to bird dropping threats, the mud nests of swallows may also be hazardous. These nests are commonly home to parasites including swallow bugs, fleas, mites, and ticks. Finally, when a swallow finally decides to leave its nest, the vacancy is quickly occupied by the sparrow.
Due to the legal protection status of swallows, exclusion of these birds must be done carefully. Swallows are very territorial. This means that they will return even if they nest is knocked down, whether it be by wind, rain, or the end of a broom stick. Swallows are so stubborn that even after several successive nest removals they will still return. Even methods of discouraging swallows from landing in their nesting place, such as spikes or stick spray, have been observed to fail. The most successful method of excluding swallows from nesting on your property is to block entry to their nest during the winter season while they are gone. For this to succeed bird netting must be carefully installed. This can be difficult to do in both an effective and aesthetically pleasing way. Call a Nimby Pest Management professional for guaranteed, long lasting results.