Swallows are coming – Get out the Garden Bird Netting

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Swallows are coming – Get out the Garden Bird Netting

Posted on April 14, 2015 by Terri Anne Meyer in Garden Bird Netting

Garden bird netting is not just for the backyard garden.  There are many effective ways to use this netting to keep the swallows away.  The Barn Swallows are very adaptable and it is why you find them feeding in open fields, parks, meadows, ponds, coastal waters and roadway edges.  Their nests are very easy to spot.  They will build their mud nests under the eaves, in and on barns, bridges, inside sheds and almost any man-made structure.  They do not differentiate between homes and businesses.

Bird netting is used as a physical barrier to block the swallows from areas where they try to nest.  Netting can be hung from the eaves of the structure down the side of the wall creating a 45 degree angle.  The netting stops access to their favorite places.  The netting has a very lightweight mesh that is easy to use and install.  The lightweight netting is durable, made from U.V. protected polypropylene.  The netting can be installed simply with the use of net clips, hooks or a staple gun.  The netting comes in rolls of either 14’x100’ for 14’x200’ and can be cut down to any size needed.  There are also different mesh sizes to be used for swallows and well as other pest birds that are smaller and larger than the swallow.  When installed correctly, the netting is virtually invisible from the ground.  The netting can be used, taken down, and re-used each swallow season.

The mud nests create a serious mess.  Both the male and female swallow are responsible for building the nest cup using mud.  The mud is collected in their bills and they mix it with grass stems which make mud pellets.  The process is to build a shelf so they can sit upon it, then they start building up the sides.  When they build the nests on a vertical surface the nest is a semicircular, half-cup shape.  Built on top of a beam or another type of horizontal surface the nest forms a complete cup about 3 inches wide and 2 inches deep.

It is a good idea to implement garden bird netting to block vulnerable areas before the swallows arrive.  This way when the pairs of swallows start to explore the potential nesting spots, hovering and flying about locations, they will move to a different site and away from your property.  It is important to protect all areas both inside and out.  If nests are still there from last year, clean them off, because the swallows are known to return to the same nests.   Left over nests can be infested with mites and other parasites, so it is important to get rid of nests as soon as possible.

Swallows and their nests are fully protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, which makes it illegal to deliberately kill, injure or take any migratory bird. It is also illegal to intentionally damage or destroy the nest, eggs, or young of a swallow while the nest is being built or in use. The Act allows fines or prison sentences for every bird, egg or nest destroyed.  This makes it imperious to protect and area that they have nested in before and to get the garden bird netting in place before the swallows return.

Be proactive and put an end to the swallow problem.  The swallow will look for an alternate site on the same structure.  All parts of the building or structure where the swallow is known to go should be protected by the netting or other swallow control products.